The beautiful girls you see in the pictures are two of my three daughters. Allison is 15 and Anna is 11. Both of them are in wheelchairs but for different reasons. Anna was born with several issues that make moving around very difficult and it became necessary for her to use her wheelchair exclusively one year ago. Allison, however, has severe scoliosis that required surgery. During that surgery, at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, AL, she suffered a spinal cord stroke and became paralyzed from the chest down. Both Allison and Anna see several specialists in Birmingham, Alabama and Nashville, Tennessee on a regular basis. Life isn’t easy for either one of them and it was made harder today.
Our van was an old 1992 Ford Club Wagon that had a wheelchair lift installed in it. This morning (1/10/19), while my husband was driving it to work, it overheated and caught fire. The fire spread throughout the van quickly, making it a total loss. Thankfully he’s ok and the girls weren’t in it, but it was our only mode of transportation for them. Also, because of the age/condition of the van we were only able to carry liability insurance. Therefore we’re on our own to replacing it.
My grandmother has a van that she’s graciously giving to us, but we need to install a used lift and a new tie down belt system in order to use it. To transfer the vehicle to our name and to make the necessary changes (if they are able to use the lift we have), the cost is estimated to be $3,000. If the used lift won’t work, a new lift will be required which brings the cost closer to $8,000.
My husband is a union carpenter who works all the hours he can to support our family. I don’t work so that I can be wherever I need to be to take care of our kids many needs, including taking them to all of their doctor's appointments. Any help we can get towards getting the van customized for our precious girls is greatly appreciated.
- Lori Leone
- Michele Laikowski
- David Witel
- Tracey Bird