In September of 2006 my wonderful, beautiful and very special wife was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. What started as basic balance problems have grown over the last 6 years into advanced disability. She went from using a cane, to a walker to finally being in a wheelchair full-time a little over a year ago. Having primary progressive MS means that the future for us is not the brightest, she will slowly lose more and more function; however, we are doing our best to live for today and enjoy life the best we can.
Not knowing how fast her MS progression will be, we really want to take advantage of the time we have and live the fullest life possible. We want to be able to travel to California, Indiana, Tennessee, Oregon and Colorado to visit family and friends who are dear to us, while she is still able. We can't take time for granted, if we want to do these things we need to start soon before it becomes too much of a challenge. Anyone who is familiar with the more advanced stages of MS understands that travel is a major obstacle. Wheelchair transportation on planes, handicap taxis, transferring from chair to car seats, carrying luggage and all the items we need to make simple things possible, like getting up a curb that doesn't have a workable curb-cut for a wheelchair, are nearly impossible for a single caregiver and extremely stressful for both people to handle. All of these things we have experienced, and are what has lead us to this point in our hunt for a better way to get from one place to another in a safe and comfortable manner.
So, this is where all of you come into play. We are preparing to purchase a new minivan, with a standard VMI in-floor ramp conversion. These conversions are the most well-known and trusted in the handicap vehicle modification industry, and we've been lucky enough to get to test it out first hand. The smile on my wife's face at being able to easily wheel herself, with no assistance from anyone , in and out of a vehicle, and be comfortable in the process, with no risk of injuring herself by trying to transfer from her chair to a seat was wonderful to see and I want to give her that comfort.
Since we only live once, we want to shoot for the best vehicle we can get, and are aiming for a new Honda Oddysey, with the in-floor conversion, and a set of hand-controls and the safety features necessary to not only give us a vehicle that we can take on long road trips without worry, but that will give her the independence to once again drive herself and enjoy the freedom to go where she wants without having to rely on others. Now, I'm always here for her, but I want her to hold onto that feeling of independence as long as possible. She deserves that.
I've started this fund-raising site to help us gather as much of the cost of the vehicle modifications as possible. The retail price after the modification is right at $65,000. Quite a price tag, with the van itself running around $38,000 and the modifications costing another 24-27,000. The model we got to test had a price of $63,000, but it did not have the hand controls.
If you feel it in your heart to help, any amount is appreciated. Although the Honda is our goal, we are going to get whatever we are able to afford based on the donations we receive. I feel if we can get at least 20,000, that we'll be able to take care of financing rest, but I know there are a lot of kind souls out there so I'm setting our goal high.
To all of those who have come to the site, and taken the time to read this story, I am grateful. Regardless of any donation the fact you took time to stop down and take an interest is important. People with disabilities get forgotten in society today. It's a sad reality and everyone who takes the time to at least notice and recognize those who are less fortunate are winners in my book.
Thank you, and best wishes to all.
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