$365 of $25,000
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This fundraiser ended on 11/12/12

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We are in desperate need of a wheelchair accessible van so I can safely get my disabled daughter where she needs to go.

I am a single mom who had the privilege of adopting Tamara when she was 8 months old. I started out by being her foster parent and was only going to foster for a year or so, until I met her. She was lying down on the floor of the playroom at La Rabida Children's Hospital. She was tiny for her age, had a feeding tube in her nose, crossed eyes, and lacked the ability to make eye contact. I picked her up and held her against me and I knew I was in trouble! I could see her trying to focus on me with her eyes and there was an instant connection.

Tamara was born 3 months premature and has Cerebral Palsy, Hydrocephalus, a seizure disorder, moderate to severe brain damage and sensory integration disorder . She cannot use her legs and is in a wheelchair. She has intellectual, emotional and learning delays. She is now 22 years old but is more like a 6 year old. She is a stubborn, smart and very verbal young girl who knows what she wants and how to get it from mom, who can't resist her wonderful smile and big brown eyes!

Tamara has plans for this summer. She wants to go to The Wiggles Concert, the beach, zoo, a farm, an arcade, Target (to buy CD's), the nearest mall and wherever else seems interesting to her.

We have a 1994, GMC Safari van with a wheelchair lift. The van and the lift are literally falling apart. In the past year, the lift has broken down 3 times, the brakes needed to be replaced much sooner than they should have needed to be replaced, the muffler and tail pipe fell off as we were crossing some rail-road tracks, the rear door of the van no longer opens, the electric windows in the front don't work, the driver-side door doesn't close all the way and every month a new problem arises with the van.

This van was not designed to take the weight of a wheelchair lift, which we had added on. The van rides too low to the ground and it bounces a great deal because of the excess weight.The lift is broken again and I cannot afford to fix it. Recently the van broke down on the expressway with my daughter in it, creating a dangerous situation for us. It is not a full size van and my daughter's head is only 2 inches away from hitting the ceiling of the van.

I work as my daughter's personal assistant and don't make enough money to buy another vehicle. I can't get a job out of the house because now that my daughter is 22 years old, there are no programs for her during the day and she is at home. She requires 24 hour care and cannot be left alone.

We are in desperate need of a good, used van. One that already has a ramp or lift in it and was designed to accommodate one. I have done some research and a newer model used full size van with a lift or a ramp costs between $20,000 and $25,000.

Thank you for reading this.
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