BY JUSTIN EARLEY - NEWS ON 6
SAND SPRINGS, Oklahoma - A Sand Springs family is dealing with a heartbreaking new challenge as the holidays are right around the corner.
A few months ago, 9-year-old Caleb Campbell lost the use of his legs due to his muscular dystrophy; and now that he's using a wheelchair, transportation is difficult.
The family is grateful a local car dealership donated a van earlier this month, but it could take nearly $65,000 to make the van wheelchair-accessible or buy one that is.
Campbell doesn't let his wheelchair slow him down when he's playing with his three brothers, but getting into any vehicle to drive from place to place is another story; he said his family has to lift him into their vehicles.
"I never thought we'd see the wheelchair, but as of August he has not been able to stand or walk," said Campbell's mother, Layla Graves
Once the wheelchair became a factor, Graves said she knew her truck wouldn't cut it.
Luckily, she heard about a Sand Springs Leader newspaper contest to win a free van from Sand Springs car dealer Auto Source.
"A friend told me they heard about it and entered us," Graves said.
The surprise entry for the family ended with a win.
"For choosing our family we're truly grateful," Graves said.
The van has already provided more room for their family of six - and a dry place to store Caleb's wheelchair once it's taken apart - but as he grows and gets a larger wheelchair, that won't be an option.
"Ideally the best thing would be for him to have a lift to roll up and it straps into the van, that way we're not transferring him in and out," Graves said.
That will cost about $15,000, money the family doesn't have.
Considering the mileage and some needed repairs on the donated van, Graves would like to trade it in for one better equipped for the conversion, but that could cost thousands too.
Auto Source manager, Dustin Landry and his team said they are on the lookout for options.
"Finding a vehicle that comes through the sales, or finding something that is already suited with a lift," Landry said.
Graves hopes a fund set up can help the family raise the money.
"Just the support of everyone has been beautiful," she said.
Graves said she's thankful for the generosity that has already touched her family.
She said a new equipped van would cost up to $65,000, but is looking for more cost-effective options.