A wheelchair ac­ces­si­ble van for James Manuel

Fundrais­ing com­mit­tee achieves nearly $39,000 to make an im­por­tant pur­chase

Northern Pen - - Editorial -

Gen­er­ous peo­ple from across the Great North­ern Penin­sula and be­yond have helped the fam­ily of James Manuel pur­chase a much-needed wheelchair ac­ces­si­ble van.

James Manuel, 10, of Sandy Cove, was di­ag­nosed with Cof­fin-Lowry syn­drome as a baby. Cof­fin-Lowry syn­drome has a wide-range of char­ac­ter­is­tic symp­toms but for James it has re­sulted in him be­ing un­able to speak or walk, in ad­di­tion to other dis­abil­i­ties.

Un­til get­ting the wheelchair ac­ces­si­ble van in De­cem­ber, when­ever James had to travel any­where, a fam­ily mem­ber had to lift him out of his wheelchair and into a car seat.

This be­came more dif­fi­cult as James grew older and got big­ger.

But now, af­ter a fundrais­ing cam­paign that started last May, James and his par­ents Billy and Tara-Lynn Manuel, have the wheelchair ac­ces­si­ble van they need to help James go to school, visit the doc­tor and do his news­pa­per route.

The James Manuel Fundrais­ing Com­mit­tee started its ef­forts on May 6, 2018 with a GoFundMe page.

From that time on, they raised nearly $39,000, al­low­ing the com­mit­tee to pur­chase the van out­right.

They were also able to at­tain snow tires and in­sur­ance cov­er­age on the van for a year.

A $25,000 gov­ern­ment grant was se­cured in time to retro­fit the van for wheelchair ac­cess.

Fur­ther­more, a pre-planned cold plate drive brought in $3,400 and a $7,000 do­na­tion from the Clau­dia Cup Foun­da­tion, a chil­dren’s char­ity in St. John’s, re­sulted in more funds than they needed

There­fore, the com­mit­tee says the left­over funds, a to­tal of $4,100, will be do­nated back to the Clau­dia Cup Foun­da­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to com­mit­tee mem­ber Sheila Genge, much to their dis­ap­point­ment, the cam­paign ac­tu­ally took off rather slowly.

How­ever, with so­cial me­dia and word of mouth in the small com­mu­ni­ties on the Great North­ern Penin­sula, they soon dis­cov­ered no task was too daunt­ing.

Peo­ple soon got on board in var­i­ous ways, ei­ther through mone­tary do­na­tions or pur­chas­ing tick­ets on do­nated items.

They also contributed through var­i­ous fundrais­ing events that in­cluded live en­ter­tain­ment, a Dimes for James Col­lec­tion, a highly suc­cess­ful bike rally, dart tour­na­ments, card games, bake sales and more.

The com­mit­tee also re­ceived do­na­tions from var­i­ous busi­nesses, the Lions Club, church or­ga­ni­za­tions and oth­ers along the Great North­ern Penin­sula.

“We can’t thank the peo­ple enough for their kind­ness, gen­eros­ity, time and ef­fort put into mak­ing our goal such a huge suc­cess, and in such a short time,” Genge wrote on be­half of the com­mit­tee. “Be­cause of the good­will of peo­ple in our prov­ince, and in other parts of Canada with ties to our coast, doors are open­ing up for de­serv­ing chil­dren who need our sup­port, as did young James Manuel.”

Tara-Lynn also wished to thank Colin and Judy Way for pay­ing for her hus­band’s and her fa­ther’s plane tick­ets to go to St. John’s and pick up the ve­hi­cle.

STEPHEN ROBERTS – THE NORTH­ERN PEN

The fam­ily of 10-year-old James Manuel have a new wheelchair ac­ces­si­ble van to help trans­port the child. Pic­tured with the new van, from left, James’ mother Tara-Lynn Manuel, James Manuel and James’ fa­ther Billy Manuel.

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