Submission #21

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Submission information
Submitted by Anonymous
Tue, 06/12/2018 - 2:11pm
June 12, 2018

Dear United Way of Pottawatomie County:
Thank you for taking the time to consider our urgent request. My wife, Lisa, has a mitochondrial disorder that causes weak muscles and peripheral neuropathy. She doesn’t have pain, but she barely feels her hands and feet. This makes her incapable of balancing on a walker. Over the last ten years, she has broken her hip and her foot, and she has sprained her ankles several times. Nor is she able to write well. This is very bad for her to keep breaking and spraining things. She uses a wheelchair and I am her caregiver. It is imperative that we be safe when transporting her. She is only 41 years old and has a lot of life and goals ahead of her. Her neurologists can verify this disorder, although they cannot release information to you because of HIPPA rules. If you need us to send obtain a letter, we can. In any case, surely the nature of this request speaks for itself. Our family is in desperate need of a side-ramped wheelchair accessible mini-van. We need to keep our old car as a backup; it is the only car that we have. We could pay insurance on a new mini-van. However, we cannot afford to purchase the vehicle at all. Please consider the following facts.
While many families are able to go to the Mall, Walmart, the Zoo, sports events, museums, amusement parks, or paved nature trails, it is very difficult for other families who have a loved one with a manual wheelchair to participate in these kinds of distance activities. Although a manual wheelchair may be manageable for short distance outings, it is just too cumbersome and risky for both rider and caregiver for longer distance outings. Even on short distance outings, though, it is risky to transfer Lisa in and out of the car. Since we don’t have a wheelchair accessible van, we are unable to be very active and mobile.
Beyond the desire to be more active and mobile, though, is the safety issue. Transferring a loved one in and out of a standard vehicle is difficult on the feet and ankles. I can take care of Lisa at home, but it is getting more risky to get in and out of our car. We already have a manual wheelchair and a battery-powered wheelchair; we just really need the wheelchair accessible van.
We not only want to be more active and mobile, as well as safe, but we really would like to be able to carry our child, and/or his friend(s) in our vehicle. We have an 8-year old boy. He is full of life and enjoys going places. He has friends and cousins who could ride with us sometime as well. So if we could get a wheelchair accessible mini-van, we really want a side entry ramp with a back seat row for our child to ride in.
As a retired school teacher, Lisa draws Social Security disability and teacher retirement. However, since she is only 41, those amounts are not at full retirement amount. As her full-time caregiver, a part-time substitute school teacher, and a very part-time college student, I make very little money as well. Nevertheless, we are able to sustain our living on these incomes for now. But it is simply impractical and unattainable to take on a loan for a wheelchair accessible mini-van.
As an organization, or individual, that cares about the community and helps the disabled, I trust you will take this need under serious consideration. It is so nice of you to take the time to read and understand our situation. Thank you, again.
By way of suggestions:
I. There are at least two great wheelchair-accessible dealers in central Oklahoma:
United Access Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles and Equipment, 730 West Hefner Road, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73114, 1-877-501-8267.
Wheelchair Minivan Prices at United Access Range from:
$16,664.00 (2005 Dodge Grand Caravan) - $80,840.00 (2018 Chrysler Pacifica Limited)
Newby Vance Mobility Sales and Service, Vance Auto Group, 5632 South Division Street, Guthrie, Oklahoma 73044, (405) 582-3789. Wheelchair Minivan Prices at Newby are not listed.
Therefore, one may assume that the average price for a new or used Wheelchair Minivan is: $48,752.00. The better quality vans are, of course, between 50-80K.
II. As for our needs, we could really use a van that has low miles, has a side-entry ramp, a rear bench seat, a driver seat, and is durable enough to carry either a manual or an electric wheelchair in the front passenger space. We also need airbags, a strong engine that doesn’t leak, a clean drivetrain, a reasonable paint job, and heat and air conditioning. As for our wants, we would like to have a brand new van with audio, GPS, drop down TV for the kids, and a beautifully painted body. In any case, whether a want or a need, we highly prefer a quality long-lasting vehicle. Therefore, we would like something that is no more than 2-3 years old, if not new.

III. Suggestions (as of 5/23/18) include:
2017 Toyota Sienna Limited Premium MPG: 19/27 (City/Hwy), Trans: Automatic Stock #: VIN-HS838627, Drivetrain: Front Wheel Drive, Colors: Creme Brulee Black, Chestnut (Interior), Engine: 6 Cylinders, VIN: 5TDYZ3DC3HS838627, Location: United Access Memphis; at $79,855.
2015 Honda Odyssey EXL … $49,137.
IV. Contact Salesperson: Adam Lane, United Access OKC (405) 842-0511

V. Rather than purchasing the vehicle, though, an easier option for your organization/you would be to purchase a Sales Voucher or Gift Card from: United Access Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles and Equipment for the amount of your grant ($50,000 - $80,000). Then you could simply mail the approval letter and the voucher/card to our address.

Bryan and Lisa Cook
1006 West Federal Street
Shawnee, Oklahoma 74804
(405) 273-6374
Upon receiving approval and funding, we would be happy to issue a letter of charitable contribution to you, if you wish. You could use the letter for a tax deduction at tax time. If more than one entity sends a grant, both/multiple grants will be used to buy a vehicle. But if more than one entity sends a grant, and one of the entities is sufficient to purchase a vehicle, we will promptly return the extra grant(s) to its original entity(ies). Thank you.
We really hope you consider this request and be charitable toward those in need. If you would like to meet us, you can call and make a time to come by. Please note the urgency of our need for a vehicle of this kind. Please respond with approval or denial at your earliest convenience. Thank you again for your time.

Best regards,

Bryan Cook
(405) 788-9454 (Cell)