Maryland family needs community support to buy new handicapped van

PRESTON, Del.- Melody Joiner is working tirelessly to make sure her son Christopher Mayo gets to enjoy every bit of life. Whether that’s getting him new toys, like his favorite Doctor Seuss book, or taking him to do his favorite activities.

“Even though Christopher is blind and has been blind since birth we still attend the movies because he gets to take in all the sensations, the sounds, just being out, the smell of popcorn,” Melody said.

Christopher was diagnosed at 4 months old with two rare diseases, Joubert Syndrome and Trisomy 8 Mosaicism Syndrome, both causing abnormalities and disabilities, like being unable to walk. This requires Christopher to use a wheelchair. In order to get out easier, a van with a wheelchair lift was donated to the family 3 years ago, but with the van being 17-years-old it’s causing challenges.

“I have depleted everything I have just to keep it running so we can get out and then two weeks ago it left him and his caregiver stranded,” Melody said.

Melody said the van has been in and out of the shop to get repaired. In fact, that’s where it’s at now and Christopher and his mom have been stuck in the house.

“He does know how to sign swimming and he’s signed multiple times to go swimming and we are unable to go,” Melody said. “As a mom, you see something that your child wants so bad, something so simple in life to most people, but for us to be able to access activities its impossible sometimes.”

Not only has this stopped the family from being able live normally, it’s also affected Christopher’s behavior. “You can tell that he is diminishing in his personality because he’s not getting out, he’s not being around people,” Melody said.

To try and get a handle on these issues, Melody has had the van looked at by wheelchair lift companies, but has been told they’re unable to reequip it with a new lift. This has left her  to look in other avenues.

“The disability administration is looking to fund up to $15,000 for the lift and the conversion,” Melody said. “Anything beyond that would be my responsibility,  that would include the van, anything above $15,000 to have the van converted.”

And with the cost of a sufficient van estimating around $40,000, Melody is trying to raise money through a GoFundMe in hopes the community will lend a helping hand. “We just wanna get back to normal, and that was our normal life was just getting him out and doing just the simple things; and being unable to do that its affected us tremendously,” Melody said.

Melody said not every person has to donate financially. If you’re able to just tell someone else that the family needs help and they’re able to connect them with an agency or organization, that goes a long way as well.

To get to the GoFundMe, click here.

Categories: Local News, Maryland