Saturday, June 29, 2013

Is This A Dream? Our Wheelchair Van Story....

First I would like to say thank you to everyone who has supported our family with this van and knows and understands why we need it.  I wanted to write this post not only to tell our story but to help others who might be in need for Mobility Services.  I have fought for three years trying to get a Wheelchair Van and it all seems like a dream but it is still in my driveway this morning!  :)

Wow! What a week it was this week!

I was on a huge roller coaster for the last two weeks actually.

It all happened like this....

Three weeks ago we had a very nice gentleman over named, Sul.  Sul came to measure our ceilings for a lift system that we are going to be getting in our house for Ryan.  If you do not know about Ryan and his syndrome, you can read more about that HERE.  Sul works for a company called Total Mobility Services, and was so generous to drive all the way to VA from MD to talk to us about Ryan's mobility options.  While he was here we discovered that they also had Wheelchair vans for sale and we started to investigate on how we could go about getting a van to help us get Ryan where he needed to go without taking him out of his wheelchair. Sul mentioned something about having a nice Honda Odyssey available that was $52,000.  I laughed at him and told him that he was crazy and we needed something much cheaper.

You see, Ryan weighs 50 pounds and his wheelchair weighs 70 pounds.  We were putting him in a car seat and then lifting his wheelchair into the back of the van.  It usually took two people and I was unable to lift it myself.  If no one was here to help me then I could not leave the house with Ryan and that scared me to death!

Sul left that day with optimism that we would get our needs met and the next week, our wonderful nurse found this awesome program called the ATLFA (Assistive Technology Loan Fund Authority) and we spoke to Christy Crowther.  (Christy is the program manager for this program in VA but you can contact her even if you do not live in VA and she can help you find the appropriate help in your state.)  Christy called us and told us that they help families with children that have disabilities get the help that they need.  They are able to do big loans and spread them out for a longer period of time with low interest.  She told us that the first thing we needed to do was to pick out our van.  I was shocked!  I had to go van shopping without knowing if I could afford one.  I didn't want to get my hopes up but I tried to stay positive.  We prayed a lot!

We called Sul and told him the good news that we needed to find a van.  We looked at some of the older vans on the website and I was just too afraid to buy a van that was older and have to pay on it for 8 to 10 years.  I did a little math and figured that we could try to get the Honda that he mentioned to me the week before.  I thought it was a long shot but like I said, I tried to stay positive.  We had Sul write up an invoice for us for the 2012 Honda Odyssey and we turned it in to the ATLFA with all of our other paperwork for the loan.  I turned this all in on a Friday afternoon at 2pm.  I knew that I would have to wait for the answer until Monday.  It was a long weekend!

This is Sul.  He was amazing!  Not only did he deliver our van but when he arrived, he detailed the van in our driveway and made sure we were comfortable with everything before leaving us.  He stayed with us for almost 5 hours!
Sunday night I did not sleep a wink.  I was so tired Monday but me and Ryan's nurse tried to stay busy to keep our minds off of the loan.  At 2pm the call came in from Christy at the ATLFA.  I was shaking all over and when she answered she told me that we were able to get the loan.  I was completely shocked!!!  I called everyone I knew and it was a very emotional day for all of us!!!  We found out that the van would be delivered Friday! Wednesday we got a call that crumbled us all to the ground.  There were some problems with the loan and the invoice that we did not know about.  We thought that we had lost the van.  It took us 24 hours, but we got the invoice problem fixed and were able to move forward on the Van.  I had never been so relieved in all of my life!  To keep ourselves busy, we did arts and crafts with the kids to make banners and posters for VAN DAY!!  We were so excited and had so much fun!

Friday rolled around and we were so excited!  We decided to keep it personal Friday with only my parents and my husband's parents there.  We got a call at 11:30am from Sul that he was right around the corner with the van.  I actually felt sick to my stomach!  We saw our van for the very first time when he came up the hill and pulled into our driveway.  It was an amazing moment for us all!  We had banners, posters, american flags, and even confetti!!  It was so much fun!!  We took pictures of our new van with our family first and then Joe and I went on our first ride to check it all out.

When we got back we ate lunch and then Joe and I were able to learn how to put Ryan in the van.  We were excited to find out that he could sit sideways in the van to give the other two kids more room.  We were also very excited to go out to dinner for the first time in our van as a family. It is so easy to go places with Ryan now.  It takes us just a few seconds to strap him down and then we are ready to go!

We truly do feel so blessed to have this van and we are still in shock!

We do appreciate all of your prayers and support!!



  1. Your story gave me tears! I am so happy that you received what you needed. I love how you & your family celebrated it as well. It's great to read happy things that happen in this world.

  2. That is so awesome!! I know exactly how you feel, my son is 65# & we were having to get him out of his car seat before we got our wheelchair accessible van, it is truly convenient!!

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  4. How awesome that you got what you needed!!! Happy Day!!


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