‘I’ll do everything I can to achieve it’
Port Saunders woman raising money for wheelchair accessible van for daughter
Danette Payne is $7,500 away from a wheelchair accessible van for her daughter Gracie.
Gracie has lived with cerebral palsy since she was fourmonths-old. Payne has devoted herself completely to caring for her daughter.
“She’s gone through so much, yet she’s never upset. She’s always happy, smiling and laughing all the time,” Payne said of Gracie. “If I can make a part of her life easier, I’ll do everything I can to achieve it.”
For the past year and a half, Payne and others have organized several fundraising efforts to purchase a wheelchair accessible van for Gracie, priced at $54,000.
Payne says this van would ease many strains for both her and Gracie, especially with continuous trips from Port Saunders to St. John’s for medical appointments.
“Everywhere we go, I carry Gracie to her car seat, take her wheelchair apart into three sections and load it into the vehicle. Then when we get to the store or wherever we’re going, we do the same thing all over again,” said Payne. “So what someone can do in five minutes is taking us probably an hour.
“Having a van would make a huge difference in our lives.”
Funds for the van have come from donations and efforts like “grand in hand” draws, ticket sales for lobsters, as well as a benefit dance and 50/50 draw in Woody Point last year that raised $6,000. In recent weeks, Payne has received calls and donations from people across the province.
For her, the community support is very special.
“It’s amazing; people are so good to us,” said Payne. “It’s overwhelming receiving that community support. How do you thank people enough for giving so much.”
In February, Payne lost out on $17,000 in funding they had been hoping for from a charity that had changed its focus from helping children with disabilities to developing education programs dealing with hunger.
Since then, she’s returned to more fundraising efforts, with a current “two grand in hand” draw underway.
“When we got word from the charity it really wasn’t the nicest feeling,” Payne said. “I was all upset, but then I got that groove back and said, ‘Well, if she needs it lets keep going, lets get this van for her.’”
With her own perseverance and community support behind her, Payne is determined to keep moving towards the fundraising goal.
“It can feel slow going sometimes, but every little thing helps,” she said. “At the end of the day getting Gracie her van is the goal and we got to keep pushing.”
When all tickets are purchased for the upcoming draw, $2,000 will go to the winning ticket holder and $2,000 will go towards Gracie’s van. Payne encourages anyone who wants to purchase a ticket or send donations to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Danette Payne has spent the past two years raising money for a wheelchair accessible van for her daughter Gracie. She is $7,500 from that goal.