An Accessible Vehicle For Kara Paige
Team Member: Carmine Sargent
Abby Paige wrote -
My name is Kara Paige. I am a fun-loving, independent woman with spina bifida, and I am raising money to make my family’s vehicle wheelchair accessible. Spina bifida is a congenital condition that affects the spinal cord. In my case, it means that I don't have feeling or movement in my legs, and I use a wheelchair to get around. I've had many complications and dozens of surgeries related to my condition, and I’m also a breast cancer survivor (heading into my sixth year of remission—yay!).
I grew up in South Burlington, Vermont, where I still live. Community and social relationships are really important to me. Currently, I work as a volunteer with the Red Cross and the University of Vermont Medical Center. I love being with people and helping others.
I live with my mother, who has recently retired from her career of teaching. Our home is accessible and my mother provides me with supports that help me to maintain my independence. However, as we get older, my mother’s ability to help me is changing. Now in her seventies, she can no longer lift me in and out of my chair. This isn’t a problem around the house, but it’s now impossible for her to get me in and out of our car.
Owning a wheelchair van has never really been a possibility for our family. Adapted vehicles are astronomically expensive. I am unable to drive, and there are no medical funds available to cover the cost of a vehicle to be driven by someone else. Luckily, I have always been relatively petite, so we were able to get by for years with my mom or sister or other helpful folks lifting me in and out of our family vehicle. But this simply isn’t possible any longer. Years of lifting have left my mom with chronic pain, and she’s not able to put me in the car anymore. We need a vehicle that I can get in and out of in my wheelchair.
Fortunately, my mom owns a Ford Transit Connect, a small and adaptable minivan. We have researched our options, and for $13,000, we can have this car modified with a hydraulic ramp. The ramp will be small enough for my mother and I to operate easily and will allow me to wheel directly into the van myself. My mother and I will be able to travel around town together again, which we haven’t been able to do much in the past couple of years.
$13,000 is a lot of money, but any donation you make will bring us closer to that goal. Thank you for your generosity and support.
All donors will receive a hand-written thank you note from me and my family. Donors of more than $100 will receive a ride in the van after its modified and a demonstration of the ramp. (Sorry, but that benefit is only available to people who live nearby!)
WHERE DOES MY DONATION GO?
My sister Abby is helping me to organize this fundraising campaign. Your donation will go into a secure, separate account under her name. When all the necessary funds are gathered, they will be transferred to the service installing the ramp.