Handicap van totaled after fire

In December 2007, tragedy struck my family. My brother, Dan, accidentally overdosed on prescription medication.  Dan's body went into cardiac arrest twice in response to the stress it was under. The first time, for thirty minutes. The second time, 2 weeks later, for ten minutes. After the second time, my parents had to consider the unimaginable. They might lose their son. They signed a DNR (do not resuscitate) at the recommendation of the doctor. But the universe decided it wasn't done with Dan and his charm. He had a family that needed him to continue on this life journey with them. Dan resiliently hung on, but has been left with permanent brain damage resulting in the need for 24 hour care. 

Almost 11 years later, our lives are still not the same. My mother, Elaine, has sacrificed so much. She is the lifeline of our family. Her big heart and persistent strength is the glue that holds us together. I have never met a stronger person in this world. She is a woman who deserves nothing but the best. Unfortunately, life has been pretty relentless when it comes to putting obstacles in her way. About a year before Dan's accident, my mom came out successful in a battle against breast cancer. Just a few days ago, my mom found out that the cancer has returned. This is coming as a huge shock and blow to our family. After years of my mother giving up so much for her family, it is time for her to make herself the priority. Surgery is on the horizon, and we can't even imagine what the medical bills are going to look like. This, right now, has to be the focal point for our family... but, believe it or not, this is not where our story ends.

This is where we need your help.

As you may remember, about 2 years ago my family called on the help of our friends, relatives and community to raise money for a handicapped van for Dan. Thanks to the unbelievable outpouring of support, we were able to get a van for Dan, something that is so necessary to help him and my family maintain a quality of life that is worth living. Without this van, Dan is not able to attend day programs, go on vacation, or be a part of our community. And, in the worst case scenario, the van is available for any sort of emergency that he may face. It's always been a comfort to know that my family has all the resources available for him. 

Earlier this month, my mom was driving to work when a spontaneous electrical fire ripped through the driver's side of the van. Luckily, my mother was able to escape through the passenger side of the van and an off duty firefighter helped to quell the flames while they waited for the fire department to arrive. It is important to understand that had my brother been in the car at the time, my mother would not have been able to get him out. This incident would have resulted in further injury for my brother, if not, his death. The vehicle is destroyed beyond repair, leaving my family without one of our most necessary and valuable resources. As you could imagine, the cost of a new van is a hefty one. Our insurance will not cover the cost of handicap equipment.  We are only receiving $5,000 towards the cost of a vehicle that will probably cost us something close to 12x that amount.

This is why I am sharing our story with you today. It's not easy for us to ask for help, but now, more than ever, is when we need it. My mother's health is the most important focus right now. All of our mental and physical energy will be channeled into her recovery... but, this van is a necessity in our life. We need the assistance of our loved ones and community. Please consider donating to this cause. My mother deserves the best and this should not be something that she has to think about right now.

Thank you for taking the time to read, donate and share. We love you all.

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Organizer and beneficiary

Kaleen Conway
Wantagh, NY
Elaine Conway

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