Linda just got a new van. We got it on March 27, 2013. The story is amazing. Many dozens of friends from a blogsite we are members of, Ricochet, donated $14,500 to purchased a used van modified with a lowered floor and power ramp. Linda can now ride next to me in her Permobil power wheelchair. More later...
.....ORIGINAL POST BELOW.....
I totaled it recently in a run-in with a dozen deer and other drivers attempting to avoid them. Thankfully, Linda was not with me at the time. It was a twenty-year-old1992 Ford van, with a wheelchair lift. Even so, the vehicle had become unreliable and unsafe anyway. Because we had no collision insurance, we have been unable to replace it. Because of its age, we had been praying for months about a replacement van. As Linda said immediately after the accident, “The new van has now gone from a desire to a need.”
Let me tell you about Linda, my wife of 44 years. Linda had a severe case of polio in 1949, when she was 18 months old. Even though she had many surgeries, the disease totally paralyzed her below the waist. Linda essentially grew up in the Shriner’s Hospital in San Francisco.
Linda spent most of her life on braces and crutches, graduating to a wheelchair part-time about ten years ago. As the result of being compelled to use her arms so much with crutches (constant pain and extreme fatigue are the main effects of post-polio syndrome), Linda became a functioning quadriplegic four years ago. That required her to move full time to a power wheelchair. Both of Linda’s shoulders have separated, and her condition is inoperable. Linda does not appear to be as limited as she is. She is accustomed to pain and limitation, and simply pushes through to get done what she must. Therefore, while Linda can do a great deal, she pays a high price for doing too much. The doctor recognizes this problem, and does not do any more testing or recommend either surgeries or medications, including any form of pain relief or sleeping aids, for these problems.
So, Linda really needs a van. She now uses a very sophisticated power wheelchair that weighs around 550 pounds when she is in it. Without the van, Linda is limited to our heavily modified home, and our immediate neighborhood. She can get to a small local shopping area with a supermarket, but not much else. Supermarket shopping has always been our favorite date, but we are now reduced to the lowest common denominator shopping trips.
Linda is accustomed to her independence. She had to quit driving about 25 years ago due to the stress on her arms, but since we do everything together, she no longer needs to drive. We have two married children and five grandchildren. They help us, but can’t replace the van.
Linda has always been a giver. Before the stresses of post polio began, Linda and I would go handicap mountain climbing, camping and other adventures. She has helped with outreach to the disabled poor in Central America and Afghanistan, and has always been fearless about helping others. Being essentially home bound, the restrictions are slowing down a dynamic lover of God and life.
At present, I take Linda, with her manual wheelchair for short outings in our station wagon, but without the ability to reposition and even stand in her power wheelchair, our maximum trip away from home cannot exceed three hours. Even for that Linda pays a high price. The pain and exhaustion of those three hours of freedom costs days of rest to recover strength and reduce pain. Earlier this year, when we had to evacuate for three days because of the Waldo Canyon fire, we could not take the power chair where we had to stay. It took over three weeks before Linda’s strength fully recovered.
New vans of the type we need are very expensive, on the order of $50,000 - $65,000. Reliability is essential with these types of vehicles, since being stuck on the road for as little as half an hour, even with a simple battery failure, can result in life threatening temperatures inside the vehicle in summer or winter. As with many paralytics, Linda’s body temperature control is very limited.
A reliable used van can generally be found for around $30-40,000. Vans built since 2008 have been specially designed and built by several auto manufacturers to include features assisting the handicapped. They are highly integrated and reliable (they’re a good example of how Americans solve problems).
are asking the Ricochet family and friends for ideas, contacts, or, of course,
money. If you have contacts outside of the family, please let us know. We are working with a dealer/broker who has established an account for us so you can donate to Linda's van. We cannot provide tax deductible receipts. The government makes it too complicated and time consuming.