Wheelchair Van because of M.S.

$31,400 of $60k goal

Raised by 209 people in 22 months
Greg Jacobson  WILTON, CT
Allow me to first say I do not like asking for financial assistance, but my physical and financial condition brought on by Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis leaves me with no other options.   Even if I don't reach the $60,000 goal for a new wheelchair accessible minivan (see quote at the bottom), there are  other pre-owned options I could turn to.   Either way, my ultimate goal will be reached, which is to have mobility beyond my home, so that I can make a difference for my young blended family (kids: 16, 15, 12, 12 , 9), and for the MS community as a whole through my four annual golf fundraisers to support MS medical research and the National MS Society- my events have raised over $70,000 since 2013.  

Through the past 6 years of fighting Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis my hope and spirits have remained high even though the disease has put me in a  wheelchair.   This is a difficult disease to deal with every day and in every functional human way.  It has already drained our savings, taken away my ability to gainfully work, and simultaneously put a huge burden upon my wife and her consulting business in order to make ends meet.

In my MS’s case, the degree of disability from my waist down has been shockingly rapid and unforgiving.  Those who know me know that the disease has dramatically altered the way I deal with the outside world.  I can no longer do something new without knowing all of the location logistics, or even execute basic tasks outside of the house like attending kids' activities or shopping.  This is because the planning required for even the smallest of excursions is daunting.   Therefore, I most often choose not to go anywhere, or at most make only one excursion per day and hopefully not have to get out of the vehicle.  In other words, MS is making me a hermit and this is not who I am or who I want to be.  The rapidly increasing mobility challenges are also emotionally painful for me because, from my perspective, the people I feel I most affect are my wife and kids, and to some extent, my friends and my efforts to help find a cure for MS.

As recently as 2014 I had a manageable vehicular mobility process-- 1) get into the hands controlled minivan,  2) drive to the destination,  3) park in a handicap spot,  4) assemble the 4-piece mobility scooter (40 lbs. each piece) from the back of the minivan, and do, or enjoy, whatever there is.  Now, that process is nearly impossible because of steps 1 and 4.  As for step 1, I can no longer climb into the vehicle.  I cannot lift my legs off the ground, so I must pull myself into the minivan with only my arms.  Thank goodness for the greatest invention ever- hand controls for a vehicle.  As for step 4, my strength and balance are so dramatically diminished by MS, the effort to assemble and disassemble the scooter is extremely uncomfortable and unsafe.  I have already fallen more than once during that process and was unable to recover without the assistance of complete strangers who were strong enough to lift my dead-weight body off the ground.  I need to eliminate steps 1 and 4 above and only a wheelchair accessible minivan will accomplish this.

I want to support my young family and their growing needs as well as be an active member of our community.  I also want to make a difference raising money to help find a cure, and effective therapies, for Multiple Sclerosis.  All of these desires require something we all take for granted- “vehicular mobility”.  Ralph Braun, founder of BraunAbility, the world’s leading manufacturer of mobility vehicles, said it best, “Life is a moving experience”.  That is not just a cute tag line, it is very true.  In order to contribute to one’s own life, or the life of a family, or a community, or the world for that matter, vehicular mobility is a fundamental necessity.  How altered would your life be if you could do almost everything you currently do every day EXCEPT physically get into your car and be self-ambulatory, i.e. walk, at the other end of your trip?

Over the past 3 years I have raised a meaningful amount of money for the National MS Society and I will continue to do so to the best of my ability.  Unfortunately, now I need to raise “vehicular mobility” money for myself so I can 1) support my family’s needs outside of our home 2) continue to raise money in order to eliminate this insidious disease, and 3) regain an incredibly important part of anyone’s life which is often taken for granted-  vehicular mobility.

My goal with this personal petition is to raise up to $60,000 in order to purchase a wheelchair accessible minivan, with hand controls, so I can ride in and out of the minivan on my power chair or scooter via a retractable ramp, transfer on and off the driver’s seat and carry on with everything in my life that is outside of our house (approximately half the cost of a wheelchair accessible van is made up of all the accessibility modifications, while the other half of the cost is the base vehicle).  This is a vehicle that I will undoubtedly need for the rest of my life or until a cure for MS is discovered.  Without a wheelchair accessible vehicle, I cannot do what needs to be done or what I want to do.  I would simply become house bound and I strongly don’t believe that is what my life’s path was meant to be.   Thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving this petition your consideration!

Dodge Wheelchair Accessible Minivan Quote:
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 377 total shares
Update 17
Posted by Greg Jacobson
20 months ago
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1
1
My dream is coming true today!! I am picking up a VMI Northstar conversion van today thanks to all of you!! I am so happy to get my independence back.
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Update 16
Posted by Greg Jacobson
20 months ago
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A number of unexpected people have recently stepped up to support my effort to become mobile again so I can leave my home when I want to or need to. I am so grateful these people, who I don't really know, felt it in their heart to help me. My goal is in sight and with a little more help I will be there.
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Update 15
Posted by Greg Jacobson
20 months ago
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Recently, chatting over coffee with a close friend it became strikingly clear to me that in today’s world “mobility = relevancy”. Think about it. Individuals need to be out in the world in some way, and somehow, in order to be, and feel, relevant to others. Relevancy is a precious human desire. For me, it is very difficult to feel truly relevant behind a computer keyboard or on a phone. My new path and purpose, aka “relevancy”, is to help raise some great kids who will each make a difference in the world as well as raise money to help end this dreadful disease, Multiple Sclerosis. Currently, I am $10,000 away from my interim goal of $39,000 which is the amount it will take to put a used wheelchair accessible minivan in my driveway. Once it’s in my driveway, I will be able to drive my wheelchair into the vehicle, via a retractable ramp, and right behind the steering wheel where hand controls will give me all the navigation capability that my legs and feet cannot. Even if you don’t know me very well, please trust me when I say I will not stop until the mysteries of MS are solved. This will benefit millions of families, not just millions of individuals afflicted by this disease. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your consideration!
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Update 14
Posted by Greg Jacobson
20 months ago
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183 friends and friends of friends have brought my campaign to within $8,000 of acquiring a used Wheelchair Accessible Minivan (see the actual van here. Deposit is in place to hold it). Please share and possibly your friends can help me regain the independence that Progressive MS has taken away.
Here it is. 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan with 30,000 miles.
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 377 total shares
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$31,400 of $60k goal

Raised by 209 people in 22 months
Created June 1, 2015
$20
Anonymous
19 months ago
MS
$100
Megan Smith-Harris
19 months ago

Dear Greg, Your story is incredibly moving. I've been coping with my own personal challenges and didn't know about your GoFundMe campaign until I saw that you were able to get your van. I'm so glad this is an ongoing campaign so I can make a contribution. As you already know, your wife Alison, is amazing. Having read your story, I now know that you are amazing too. You have courage, dignity, and a great sense of humor. I hope these traits along with the love of your family and friends, will sustain you on this journey. With Admiration, Megan Smith-Harris

$100
Anonymous
19 months ago
MN
$50
Michele Ferguson Nichols
19 months ago

So touched by your courage and strength Greg - you and your family are inspiring!

PS
$25
Peter Shiue
19 months ago
LR
$50
Liane Roseman
20 months ago
SD
$50
Stephen Day
20 months ago

You always were a fighter! Go Jake!

DC
$400
Don Ceglar
20 months ago

Impressed by your handling of this horrible disease. Hope you get to the needed amount soon!

JB
$25
Jen Brand
20 months ago

To the guy who knows the great teams to root for. Best of luck Greg.

$100
Anonymous
20 months ago
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