We are the Yarbrough family.
Lyric, Amanda, Tilly, Brandon, Eden, and Phoebe
We need your help to purchase a wheelchair accessible van in order to safely “Drive Little Eden.”
About Little Eden
This is Eden on a good day.
This is Eden on a not-so-good day. Our not-so-good days outnumber our good days probably 10:1.
Eden is 9 years old and AMAZING. That’s the word we use for her. The medical professionals call her a conundrum. Even though Eden has been diagnosed with Autism, a growth and developmental delay, and a minor brain abnormality, her behaviors and medical issues still baffle the medical professionals.
When Eden was 3, she started slamming and punching her head and would find ways to hurt herself. That behavior has continued to this day. It has left her unable to walk the majority of the last few years. If she is not contained with her safety equipment, she will immediately start slamming her head on the floor, ground, wall, or any hard surface she can find.
A Little Bit About our Big Girls
We have 3 beautiful teenage girls: Phoebe, Tilly, and Lyric.
They were all adopted from China at the age of 13. As you can imagine, 13 years in an orphanage takes a toll on a child. All three girls have medical and developmental challenges, from brain injuries of unknown origin to blindness to trauma. The list could continue but out of respect for their privacy I will stop here.
My big girls did not get an education in China nor all the fun activities that many kiddos here in the US experience. So…we try to make up for lost time. We homeschool and were able to start each girl at a preschool level when they came home. They work hard and love to learn.
All my girls are involved in multiple activities as well as various doctor and therapy appointments. On a weekly basis we have multiple appointments that require loading and unloading Eden in the van. This has become physically challenging for me.
How We Currently Roll
We have been taking Eden places by literally picking her up while strapped in her car seat, loading her and her car seat in the van, unloading her in her car seat and putting it in her wagon to go anywhere. This has worked fine until the last couple of years, when two things happened that made this system unsafe and physically strenuous:
1. She hit a growth spurt!! Currently the weight of Eden, her weighted blankets, and her car seat are about 60lbs. And I’m not 21 anymore!!!! One back injury and my whole family’s daily schedule is adversely affected.
2. She became very combative. The last few years Eden began hitting and kicking, head butting and biting us. In August, I was loading her in the van and she kicked the doorframe so hard that it sent us falling backward into another parked car. Had that car not been there, we would have been on the asphalt.
Eden’s New Wheels
Eden was recently fitted for a special needs wheelchair and should receive it sometime in December. This special wheelchair will be equipped with the necessary safety equipment to allow us to contain her and safely transport her. It will be fitted with mechanical clamps to lock it in place and has been crash tested for safety. So….we need this van to “Drive Little Eden!”
Brandon and I have been researching vans for a few weeks now. We originally thought we would just convert ours, but it is too old and has too many miles. In order to convert a van to be wheelchair accessible, it must be less than 2 years old and have less than 50,000 miles. Our Honda Odyssey is almost 12 years old and has over 130,000 miles. The reason a van has the age and mileage cap is because it costs $25,000- $28,000 to convert a van.
How We Need to Roll in the Very Near Future
We have looked at several vans and have decided the Toyota Sienna, with a manual side entry ramp will work best for our family. It is rated high in safety, reliability, and durability. Manual side entry vans are not as common as power ramp vans, but they are less expensive and have a lower upkeep cost.
We will need to add a removable captain middle seat because someone has to sit beside Eden when traveling.
We are looking at new and used (as long as they meet the age and mileage requirements) Siennas to convert or newer ones that are already converted. If we do purchase and then convert, it will take about 6 weeks, so that is not the way we want to go. If we find a deal, that is what we will do! This will be our family van and will be used long term.
Breakdown of Cost
Toyota Sienna: approximately $27,000 plus tax, title, and tag
Conversion: $25,000-$28,000 plus tax
Tie Down System: $450 plus tax
Total: approximately $56,000 plus tax
Based on these numbers, we set our goal at $60,000 for the van and to cover all the associated taxes and fees. We received $3,000 before we started our Go Fund Me page, so our goal is $57,000.
If there is any extra money when we purchase the van, it will go to safety and therapy equipment for Eden and/or copays which are about $640 a month for our kiddos.
How You Can Help
Would you please consider donating to our "Driving Little Eden" fund so we can purchase a wheelchair accessible van that will last our family well into the future.
Thank you in advance for your help and your prayers!
The Yarbrough Family
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