‘I’ll do ev­ery­thing I can to achieve it’

Port Saun­ders woman rais­ing money for wheelchair ac­ces­si­ble van for daugh­ter

Northern Pen - - Front page - BY KYLE GREENHAM kyle.greenham@north­ern­pen.ca

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 danet­te_­payne11@hot­mail.com.

FILE PHOTO

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.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Gra­cie Payne

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