Special Needs Awareness and Advocacy 

Talk about some stress, well I usually carry some stress, but this was some added stress.  I had been on the waiver waiting list for over 15 years with the hopes of obtaining a wheelchair modification. A few years ago, I purchased a van with the hopes of having it converted to wheelchair accessibility through a few funding sources I had researched.  If you have ever seen the price tag on a new or even an older model wheelchair accessible van, then you know for the average Joe it’s a huge undertaking.

It’s $20,000 to have the van converted and the funding didn’t come through, by the time the next year rolled around and there was a new pot of funding, the van had too many miles on it, the company won’t convert a van with over, I believe,  40,000 miles.  So I continued as I always had, using her manual chair and lifting her in and out of the van and putting the chair in the trunk.

The past winter, while my van was parked in my driveway, someone crashed through my yard, hit and totaled it.  In one of my previous blogs, I mentioned Jennifer from the auto show.  I met her a few days before my van was totaled. She advised me the best van to get and helped me secure funding for the modifications. I was told the funding would be available in September.  I kept my fingers crossed.

When September rolled around, the funding came through, but not the whole amount to cover the conversion.  This is were the real stress came in because I thought I was going to blow my chance again.  I searched around and tried to find additional funding while the clock was ticking.  Not long after, I received a call from the modification company, that the general manager called the manufacturer and explained my plight, and they said tell her to bring in the vehicle, we will take care of it!

My van was shipped to Indiana for the 6 to 8 week process.  They don’t give you a rental so, I borrowed a car and made do.  To my surprise, I received a call three weeks early, the van had returned to the dealer.

This has been the best ever!  My daughter and I have been able to go grocery shopping, which she never really got to go because I couldn’t push her and the cart at the same time.  She can travel in her power chair out in the community, less reliance on public transportation and no more lifting for me!