Even though a mitochondrial disease has made Noah incredibly medically fragile and will shorten his life, his parents are determined to focus on helping him really LIVE. They've fought very hard to make memories as a family and to make sure that Noah's life is about more than medicines, IV's, painful procedures, surgeries, and doctor's visits. Whenever he feels well enough, they load Noah, his power wheelchair, his multiple IV pumps, drains, etc. into their wheelchair-accessible vehicle and go have fun. Noah loves to go to the library, to art classes, to the park, to church, to community events, and more. These simple outings are helping the entire family make precious memories with Noah.
He also logs many, many hours per month being driven 100+ miles round trip to the nearest large city for doctors visits, blood transfusions, surgeries, etc. The ability to transport Noah and his power chair/equipment doesn't just add to his quality of life - it is absolutely essential!
Noah is blessed to have seven siblings, so a regular wheelchair van is not large enough. The family drives a 15 passenger wheelchair bus (paratransit bus). When the family needed to start driving the bus, they bought the best used bus they could afford, but it was over 10 years old. Despite regular maintenance and care, they've just learned that the undercarriage of the bus is rusting away completely. There was some rust a year ago but the rust has really just taken over after a very humid winter and spring. This has caused the air conditioning to fail (the parts are rusting right off) and it means that the bus will not be driveable for much longer. Noah cannot regulate his body temperature and it is extremely dangerous for him to spend an hour and a half at a time in a hot bus.
The cost of the repairs will by far exceed the value of the bus and there is no way to replace the entire undercarriage or make the bus driveable again.
The Estes need $15,000-$30,000 for a used bus in very reliable condition. While this seems like a lot of money, they are not looking for a new or luxury vehicle - just something a few years old that will be safe and reliable for them to transport Noah and the rest of the family as needed.
(NOTE: this fundraiser was initially started with a goal of $30,000 using a different fundraising page. When Kate learned that the other page took 5% of all donations, she wanted to switch to this page which does not take a % of donations. Approx. $3,000 was raised from the other page. Kate also asked that the total goal be lowered to reflect that $3,000 and also because they are very much hoping to find the least expensive bus that will meet their needs. The goal here will be raised above $20,000 if needed to purchase the right bus.)
You can read more about Noah on his blog at http://www.prayingfornoah.com and/or follow him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/PrayingforNoah.