CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - A call for help from the parent of a specials needs child - the wheelchair van she's used for a decade to drive her daughter to doctors' appointments and family outings is falling apart.
Cassandra Winston would like to get her daughter into a van that is safe, but she does not have money to pay for one outright.
NBC12 went to Cassandra's home in Chesterfield to see how she's handling the transportation problem.
Right now, the wheelchair van is parked. Cassandra says there's so much is wrong with it. She says the door flies open while she's driving.
It's heartbreaking to see what Cassandra has been doing to transport her daughter.
G'ericka is 24 and has cerebral palsy. It's exhausting, but Cassandra takes care of her daughter and works outside the home as a nurse. Throw in transportation issues, and helpless is how she feels.
"It doesn't make it easy for me to lift a 100-and-some-pound child with almost a 100-pound wheelchair in a van, but my daughter loves to get out, so I had to do what I had to do," said Cassandra.
Until recently, she did a lot of heavy lifting due to the van's broken ramp. It doesn't close completely. Once she gets G'ericka in, there is always the possibility the door will fly open while the van is moving.
She puts the seat belt across her daughter to help hold her in and floor ties for the wheelchair.
"It was very scary. My daughter is in the back of the van and the door will flies open. So, I have to pull over and it was very scary," said Cassandra.
Cassandra has now stopped using the van because of its many problems. She says her daughter stays home a lot now. They take walks around the neighborhood to get G'ericka a sense of going places.
Her large wheelchair cannot fit in Cassandra's car.
"My daughter hasn't been going anywhere, because I can't lift this in my car. This is a custom-made wheelchair versus her having a wheelchair that you can collapse, but she needs the custom-made wheelchair. I wish I could get my daughter a van that's reliable and be able to get her back and forth to doctors' appointments, church, family outings so she can enjoy her life. I think it frustrates her because she loves to go," said Cassandra.
The Mobility Center is telling her that the 2006 Buick Terrazza van she has now is obsolete and not compatible for modifications. If you can help them with a new van or a good used one, call 345-1212 and let us know.
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