When I was six months old, my twin brother Bryce began crawling, and when my parents noticed I was not, I was brought into my pediatrician and shortly thereafter diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA.) For those of you who are unfamiliar, it is a rather uncommon neuromuscular disability that over time causes atrophy of the entire muscular system.
SMA might be my diagnosis, but I have never let it define who I am. I am a lover of travel and music, and I love to make friends and meet new people. During my young life, I have been able to do all of these things in large part due to my handicap accessible van (because you and I both know that calling a cab with a 200+ pound wheelchair isn’t an option.)
Thanks to this van (and my amazing friends and family), I have been able to see many beautiful places around the country over the past several years. From Florida beaches to the Red Rock amphitheater in Colorado, I am slowly but surely experiencing everything the United States has to offer, and I am eager to see more and more of it every day. However, with adventure comes a price, and unfortunately my van has quickly gone from accessible to “you probably shouldn’t drive this anymore.”
With 150,000 miles, my 2005 Dodge Caravan has extensive rust damage beyond repair, and it needs to be replaced as soon as possible. I have spent the last few years in and out of the mechanic dumping thousands into her to milk every mile possible out of it and unfortunately, my little blue beast's time has come to an end. Neither insurance nor the state will help fund an accessible vehicle, and I am in desperate need of your help to get back on the road again.
I am reaching out to you today for financial and/or social support. A few dollars can really go a long way, and spreading the word on social media helps too.
I am currently finishing up my senior year at the University of Illinois, and hope to be in grad school next fall working on my Masters of Public Policy. With your help, I will be able to fund a used van that can not only get me to wherever I end up for grad school, but also continue to help me write my store and share the experiences and adventures of my life with all of you. I intend to use my voice and skills to advocate and change history, by helping formulate new policies which will help preserve this beautiful earth for our children's kids!
In order to move across the country and continue on my educational and professional path, a safe and working vehicle is required in order to make necessary appointments, and meetings. Without a reliable vehicle, I will be forced to put my education on hold as a move across the country would simply be a near impossible feat.
If it was an option to fly, I would do it in a heartbeat, but somehow flying with a wheelchair is still not an option. My van acts as much more than just a set of wheels, it is the key that unlocks my ability to travel, explore and see the world.
After extensive research, I have chosen a replacement vehicle: A 2012 Dodge Caravan. If you want more information on the vehicle I have chosen to replace the blue beast, get in contact with me and I can show you!
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope you can spread some joy in some else's life today!
Any contribution, financial or otherwise, means more to me than you could imagine. I am financially independent and have no other resources which I can utilize to help me obtain a vehicle.
"Dream as though you will live forever, live as though you will die tomorrow".
(you should have seen the look on the valet's face when this rolled up)
The potential new ride:
- tim wright
- Ashley Austin