BubbaManCan! A wheelchair accessible handicap van for Isaac!

For: Isaac (aka Bubba)
Jacksonville, FL
Organizer: Campbell Family
BubbaManCan! A wheelchair accessible handicap van for Isaac! (Isaac (aka Bubba))
of $25,000 goal
65% Complete
Raised by 28 donors

The Story

Hi! My name is Isaac, but you can call me Bubba like all my family and friends do.  I am 11 years old and I have been confined to a wheelchair my whole life.  My mom and dad are trying to find us a safe, reliable wheelchair accessible handicap van to get me out of the house to appointments and maybe sometimes find a little trouble to get into at the beach, or the park, or maybe just a nice roll/walk down by the river.  I have some great nurses who come play with me at home and take excellent care of me, but being stuck in the house all day, every day is not the best.  I just want to get out and have a little fun like everybody else!

I don’t like to complain, but I’ve had a pretty tough life since birth.  I was born two months early and spent the first month of my life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) until I was healthy enough to finally come home.  My first year was probably the hardest with 3 months of it in hospitals hearing words like failure to thrive, genetic issues, neurology issues, countless different possible syndromes and conditions, but no real answer until a geneticist discovered a mitochondrial DNA complex 4 issue.  As we understand it in simplest of terms, that basically means that step 4 of a 7 step process to turn proteins from food into energy just wasn’t working, and there isn’t really anything that can be done to make it work.  I have been in and out of hospitals all my life with symptoms like seizures, dystonia, scoliosis, inability to eat by mouth, severe developmental delays, and the list goes on and on.  After countless tests with many different geneticists, neurologists, and good people from all disciplines of medicine, this is the closest thing we have to a real diagnosis.  Since there’s no name for it, we call it Smiling Bubba Syndrome.

Today, I can’t walk, I can’t talk, I can’t do most things that typical people can do, but I CAN certainly smile and laugh, and most importantly, I can love!  Family, friends, medical professionals, and pretty much anybody that takes the time to get to know me can see the love in my eyes, and I can feel their love too!  The past year has been the best year of my life!  Since they removed the spinal rods last year, I have become more mobile than ever.  I will never be able to walk, but I can do the army man crawl all over the house! 

Oh, did I mention I’m cute?  Yeah, I’m so cute that I can get away with all kinds of mischief!  No matter what I do, when I flash that smile, everybody just loves me!  How could they not?

Anyway, mom and dad set up this page to request help in getting us wheels.  If you have never shopped for a wheelchair van, you might be surprised to find out that new vans are $50k and up, and good used vans are $25k and up.  The conversions that make these vans wheelchair accessible can be more expensive than the van itself!  Keep in mind that we’re talking about comparatively low cost models like a Dodge Caravan, not a luxury vehicle, but definitely enough to meet our need.  Our goal is to find financial assistance in getting a good used van.  The price of a new van is simply out of reach, and unrealistic for our situation, so we are hoping for a good used van.  We do not expect this initiative to pay for the whole van, again, we feel that is unrealistic, and we also respect the fact that ultimately, this is our financial responsibility.  Unfortunately, a single income for a family of five makes this impossible to do alone. 

We appreciate anything you are willing to do to help, and we hope your generosity can help put us in a position to make the purchase in time for my birthday in March 2017.

Thank you so very much for reading my story, and thanks again for any love and support you send my way!

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on September 15, 2016

Posted on September 15, 2016

We are still working towards that van!  Received monies have been deposited into an Able United account.  Able United is a program similar to a Roth IRA or 529 college savings plans, allowing us to save tax free for future use while maintaining federal benefits.  When it comes time to withdraw there are no taxes, penalties, or other fees to take away from what you have donated.  If anybody wants to donate directly to Able United, send us a message and we'll get you a deposit card.

Meanwhile, we are still pushing forward with no assumptions or expectations, and we sincerely appreciate everything everyone has done so far.  If you are able to help push us closer to the $25,000 goal, please click the donate button.  Also, please share!

Posted on August 18, 2016

Posted on August 18, 2016

Hi Friends!  If you have donated, thank you.  If you have shared our effort on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media, thank you.  If you have discussed it with your church, club, or organization, thank you.  We have reached out to so many places, and almost all have told us that they can only donate to other organizations due to tax reasons.  A couple individual grant applications have been submitted, but they see many and choose few.  We did find Joni and Friends.  They will match a church or Christian organization with a dollar for dollar donation up to $2500.  We'll do it if you do it!  For more information for you (and your church) see the following web site: http://www.joniandfriends.org/help-and-resources/organizations/christian-fund-disabled/

Thanks again.  We'll get there, and we can't even begin to express our appreciation!

Posted on August 13, 2016

Posted on August 13, 2016

Hi Friends!  Last weekend, we had the opportunity to go van shopping and learn more about what we need and want, as well as what to stay away from.  We visited reputable dealers, questionable dealers, and shops that actually do the conversion.  Imagine a van with the floor completely dropped out of it part way through the process prior to the rebuild.  Now, that is something to see! After seeing what is involved in the conversion process and lowering the whole floor of the van (and everything underneath) by 10 inches, safety and quality come to the forefront.  We looked at at least 30 vans in various stages of life. 

We looked at different kinds of conversions including rear entry, side entry fold down ramp, and side entry in floor ramp.  The rear entry just isn't practical as it consumes nearly all space behind the driver and front passenger seats, and that means no room for sister or nurse.  We need a side entry.  Our preference (not necessarily need) is the in floor ramp instead of the fold down ramp because the fold down ramp completely blocks the side door, making the door unusable until it is deployed.

I think the most important lesson we learned is that reputation is everything, but it comes at a high price.  The questionable dealers were exactly that, questionable at best.  Many of them see vans with rebuilt or salvaged titles, meaning that at some point, it was in a major accident and an insurance company considered it a total loss.  These questionable dealers buy the totaled vehicle, repair it, and in some cases, have the ramp conversion process done after the van has been totaled.  This just scares me, I mean, who knows what that van has really been through.  Would you want to strap your child into a wheelchair that is buckled down to a van that has been totaled, torn apart, and rebuilt?  The safety issue seems obvious.

We also learned that we are not in a rush.  This was reinforced by the fact that unless we see a miracle, we are definitely going to have to finance a portion of the purchase.  The down side is that we just can't afford that payment until March when a current loan is paid off.  At that time, we will be well positioned to make a smart decision with both safety and quality in mind.

For now, we would like to ask you to share this initiative with your church and any charitable club or organization with which you may belong.  If you would like a letter to present, please click "About the Organizer" and send me a message.

About the Organizer

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BubbaManCan! A wheelchair accessible handicap van for Isaac!

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