My brother, Tanner, is wheelchair bound since birth, and is in need a of new ramp van. Tanner is diagnosed with epilepsy, cerebral palsy and severe mental retardation, but he has the biggest and brightest smile you have ever seen. Tanner and his smile mean the world to me, and he’s the best little brother I could have ever wished for. He is the reason that I am the man I am today, so when he needs something, I am his biggest advocate and supporter. Unfortunately, I am a recent college grad and don’t have the money my brother needs.
Our mom's only vehicle, Tanner’s current ramp van, is his only method of transportation, besides the school bus he takes to and from school. Tanner’s ramp van was purchased used, 8 years ago, for a whopping price of $35,000; $35,000 for a used car, that is now falling apart. The truly sad fact is that this was a good price, as new ramp vans go for over $60,000!
The primary use of Tanner’s van is traveling to and from medical appointments. In 2015, our mom drove Tanner over 1,000 miles to and from his medical appointments, and that is a similar story every year. That total doesn’t include field trips, pharmacy runs, grocery trips and transportation to and from our dad’s house, an hour away, almost every weekend.
Tanner’s current ramp van has seen better days, and there is not a day that goes by that a different warning light isn’t lighting up on the dashboard. It's not due to lack of care, only that it was an old vehicle to start with. Our mom keeps trying to save up money for a new van, but the condition of the current van is constantly sucking up all the money she could possibly save. Last month it needed a new alternator, and when changing the alternator, the mechanic noticed the brakes were bad and needed to be replaced. In December it needed new tires, and now the oil warning light comes on every few days. Every day it seems a new warning light pops up after fixing the cause for the previous one. The time is past to replace the van, as current upkeep continues to drain funds for a new one, and each day brings risk that Tanner’s van will stop working.
Why is the goal $15,000 and not $35,000 or even $60,000? The plan is to buy another used ramp van that will hopefully last another 8 or 9 years, and not spend double to own a brand new one. Our mom plans on making up the other $20,000 through her savings and the support of family. So a goal of $15,000 will will bring us to the $35,000 mark. That being said, if by chance we raise over $15,000, then Tanner will get an even better, more reliable, and hopefully longer-lasting ramp van.
So that is why I am turning to you, the people of the Internet, to help me get my brother a new ramp van, so he can get where he needs to go, in a reliable method of transportation. Thank you for reading Tanner’s story! And please if you can, share Tanner's story with your friends, it would mean the world to Tanner.