A Handicap Conversion Van for Zach

My friends, Jamie and Mark Buglewicz, could use any help you can offer to fund an expensive van modification to comfortably accommodate a full-sized wheelchair to transport their son, Zach. Zach was born with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), a terminal muscle-wasting disease. He is autistic, has a seizure disorder, and is severely developmentally delayed. Despite this myriad of health issues, at almost 21 years of age, Zach has just graduated from high school, is happy, loves music, and is engaging and outgoing. He is a joy to his parents and all those who know and love him. In many respects, Zach has beaten the odds by remaining stronger longer than doctors originally predicted and being actively involved with the world and people around him. Zach works through the frustration and challenges of his progressive muscle deterioration with a positive outlook and pushes himself to accomplish what he can. Today, Zach requires nearly around the clock medical and personal care given lovingly by his mother.

Most importantly, Zach loves to go. He wants to be out in the world. Though he is trapped in a body he can't move, he is not a couch potato! For many years the family has used an older Ford conversion van. However, it became unreliable about three years ago, to the point that mechanical repairs for the lift and the van proper were no longer affordable, and Jamie no longer trusted it to go places with Zach in tow. So Jamie and Zach have had to rely on public transportation for the handicapped, which has limitations in hours of operation, distances and scheduling. Possibly most importantly, because Zach must be transported in a wheelchair specifically modified to support his weakened body, any need to do an emergency transport is especially worrisome. After much maneuvering of the family's modest finances, Mark and Jamie recently bought a new van and started looking into outfitting it with a ramp. To accomplish an ADA-certified (Americans with Disabilities Act) modification, the van floor has to be lowered, the bumper modified, and tie downs and seat restraints installed. This will cost $15,000, which includes the cost of transport, as the closest ADA-certified van modification company is in Chico, California, and Zach is in Tucson, Arizona.

Buying this van and accomplishing the modification is simply stretching the family's resources to the breaking point. Zach's parents have initiated the modification, as the clock is running on how long Zach's health will allow them to go places as a family. Having Zach bound to the house would break his spirit and Jamie's heart. Please help bring adventure and fun into Zach's life and help to grant his parents some peace of mind.

Any help you can give is greatly appreciated. Please pass this information on to your friends and family

God bless you,

Cathy Cermak, Friend
(520) [phone redacted]
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Organizer

Cathy Cermak 
Organizer
Sahuarita, AZ
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