Over the past 2 years or so, we have been coming to the conclusion that we are going to need to buy an adapted van. Considering that we are currently driving an 11 year Odyssey with 100,000 miles on it, we know that our next new vehicle must be an adapted van. We started looking at vans several years ago and were completely astounded at the price. New side-entry vans start in the $45,000 range and run upwards of $65,000, which is incredibly expensive, but this is the financial reality we are dealing with. Knowing then (and now) that we could not afford the cost of a new van, we have been pursuing other options, the least expensive option being to get a lightweight adaptive stroller for the van. With her current chair weighing over 75 lbs, the strain and exertion that Sarah and I have been putting on our backs, trying to lift her chair into the back of the van by ourselves, has taken its toll. It is a task that we can no longer do with one person.
To make a long story short, I ended up throwing my back out this past summer lifting it into the van, ending up in the ER taking some serious painkillers for the next week to recover. Because of the weight of her chair, it has made it very difficult for Sarah or I to take Mira anywhere by ourselves, unless Eli comes along with one of us to help lift her chair. The idea behind the lightweight stroller was that we could use the it, instead of her regular chair, whenever just one of us has to run errands or just get around town with Mira. The stroller we picked only weighs less than 30 pounds, which can be more easily lifted by one person into the van.
So, I received some fantastic news this afternoon, from Variety KC, saying that they were going to purchase a new stroller for Mira! Variety is a fantastic charitable organization here in Kansas City, led by Executive Director Deborah Wiebrecht, who is the tireless force behind this wonderful group. We met Deborah about 6 or 7 years ago, in of all places, Costco. Mira at the time was about 5 or 6 years old when introduced herself to all of us, asking if we needed any help financially with any durable medical equipment. Ironically, we were in the process of getting Mira a new wheelchair and Deborah was incredibly helpful in getting Mira's chair paid for through Variety! We were floored by her generosity and the compassion she has, in working with children and families with special needs. She is an amazing person and we cannot thank her and Variety in helping Mira again!