Help Crystal Get an Accessible Van

I live in a small town where my accessible transportation options are limited to private vehicles only, and without an accessible van, I am forced to ask so much of everyone I know to help me get to and from my appointments, as well as the events and activities that keep my spark burning as a person.

Please consider helping me purchase a wheelchair accessible van so that I can continue to access my physical therapy sessions, and to assist the selfless people in my life who have been under a physical strain for years in an effort to help my mobility. I absolutely would not be where I am without the support and love of everyone I know, and this is the best way I can make it easier for them and say thank you to the people who continue to aid me in taking me where I need to go.

My name is Crystal Lee and I am a quadriplegic. When I was 16, I was in a car accident where the vehicle rolled over bumper to bumper five times before coming to a rest in a field. The girls I was with fled the scene, and I was stuck in the crushed vehicle unknowingly paralyzed. A stranger pulled me from the wreckage, and paramedics rushed me to the hospital. I spent the next several weeks in and out of surgery and in recovery with my mom by my side and a halo brace holding my neck in place. I had shattered C5, and fractured C4 and C6, which resulted in complete loss of the use of my legs, torso, and hands, and partial arm control.

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I lost my teenage years as a cheerleader and gained a looming cloud of depression. It was only through music that I began to cope with what my life would now be. I fell in love with the emo heartbreak hits of the mid-2000s, but instead of sing-crying over a lost boyfriend, I was mourning my freedom. I slowly became more comfortable with my wheelchair-bound life because of my incredible family and friends. Admittedly, it is a lot of physical work to take care of me, and my mom and friends have been extraordinary in learning how to move me, transport me, and properly take care of my daily medical needs while still making me feel included in activities and so loved every day.

I have now lived half of my life paralyzed. The physical toll tetraplegia has taken on my body has been painful to say the least, but also has caused my family and friends to put their own health in jeopardy to move me to and from my chair so that I can maintain a small amount of mobility. In a typical day, I am lifted from my bed to my chair, my chair to the car, the car back to my chair, my chair to the car, the car to my chair, and lastly from my chair to my bed again. That is a simple day for me that might only consist of going to physical therapy and back home again, but it is still six times that my family has to carry my entire body, and all while maneuvering car doors and other physical limitations of where ever I may be moved. I try to maintain a normal lifestyle in doing basic things like going to the grocery store, getting a Starbucks with friends, and enjoying the occasional concert, but for me to take part in these simple things can be a logistical nightmare.

I have been so blessed by The Be Perfect Foundation, who has sponsored the use of a wheelchair-accessible van for me to travel in to and from my therapy sessions at The Perfect Step. These sessions have given me a new lease on life, and I feel confident for the first time that independence might be a word I can add to my vocabulary. While regaining the ability to walk is far in the future and not guaranteed, I have gained the ability to start steering myself in my manual wheelchair and return some weight-bearing pressure to my legs. I am hopeful that I can regain the strength to utilize my hands for the first time in over a dozen years. I am dedicated to my therapy regimen with The Perfect Step, and I visit their facilities twice a week for intensive sessions. The ability to use a wheelchair-accessible van has made a tremendous impact on my mobility, because I do not have to rely on anyone carrying me in and out of the car in order to attend my sessions. The unfortunate reality is that the kind donation from The Be Perfect Donation is a borrowed van, and it is not a permanent option for me to keep. I live in a small town where my accessible transportation options are limited to private vehicles only, and without an accessible van, I am forced to ask so much of everyone I know to help me get to and from my appointments, as well as the events and activities that keep my spark burning as a person.


These vans are not cheap. I am asking for $75,000 to cover the cost of a van itself, plus the cost of the conversion to become wheelchair-accessible. I would love to raise even more than that to be able to donate any leftover proceeds to The Be Perfect Foundation as a thank you for all of the help they have given to me in hopes that they can change the life of another mobility-limited person, but understand I am asking a lot of everyone to help.

Please consider helping me purchase a wheelchair accessible van so that I can continue to access my physical therapy sessions, and to assist the selfless people in my life who have been under a physical strain for years in an effort to help my mobility. I absolutely would not be where I am without the support and love of everyone I know, and this is the best way I can make it easier for them and say thank you to the people who continue to aid me in taking me where I need to go.

Thank you
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Organizer

Crystal Lee 
Organizer
Perris, CA
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