Used Wheelchair Van for My Dad

My dad, Cameron, was forced to retire as Multifamily Housing Program Director for the US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development in Portland, Oregon back in 2005 after being diagnosed with a severe form of dysautonomia called MSA . If you're not familiar with MSA or dysautonomia, that's ok. It's a somewhat rare umbrella of central nervous system conditions where all the things you take for granted like your heartbeat, balance, processing food, adrenaline production... basically all the things your body does without your control break down. It's degenerative and it's been slowly killing him for 12 years. There is no recovery, just management of the symptoms, and it's 100% fatal.

This is a hard pill to swallow for anyone, and I would totally understand if he became selfish and angry. But that's not my dad. He's been there for not only his own children, but countless "adopted" kids, a constant source of strength and inspiration. Vickie, my mom, has been married to Cameron since 1978, and her tireless support of her husband and family never stops suprising me. Cameron has been active in his community and his church, fighting his entire life for a better quality of life for the underprivledged... and most people he helped in his career at HUD have no idea who he is. 

He battles not only physically but spiritually, living month to month largely because my parent's generosity to others often outpaces their capability. Now, I must do everything I can to give back and help him recover what quality of life he can for as long as he can.

Cameron must now use a wheelchair full-time, and the only way they have to get around to appointments and to see their family is with a manual chair because it's smaller and lighter. But as part of this condition, my dad is losing strength and pushing a manual wheelchair is becoming increasingly difficult. He has an automatic wheelchair, but the old family car can't hold it. Without one of those vans with the motorized loader (they are called conversion vans), he will soon be unable to leave the house, and I can't let that happen.

We shopped around and the kind of van he needs, used, is about $30,000. There's no way they can afford it mostly because helping others tapped them out so much. We've researched programs and assistance, and we are on our own. I would gladly pay for it if I could, but the only way we are reaching this goal is with the help of friends and family.

Every little bit helps. Thank you for helping me restore some quality of life for my dad. I can't imagine being stuck at home, unable to go to appointments and see family, when the obstacle is basically a car. Problems have solutions. Thanks for being part of our solution! Every day is a blessing.

  • Lori Padilla 
    • $20 
    • 35 mos
  • Marv & Rob Henson-Versluis 
    • $100 
    • 57 mos
  • Jen Kitzman 
    • $10 
    • 57 mos
  • Karon Haraldson  
    • $60 
    • 57 mos
  • Branden Olsen 
    • $100 
    • 57 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Chantel Grier 
Forest Grove, OR
Cameron Eldredge