RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Jennifer Reinhardt says she counts her blessings every day she gets to spend with her daughter Victoria.
Victoria was born with conditions that complicates her breathing and cerebral palsy.
Victoria was born in 2016 after doctors inserted a balloon into her chest pre-birth to help her lungs develop. Today, she’s almost a typical 3-year-old. She enjoys toys and watching videos on the iPad.
“Almost” typical because she is hooked up to several machines that monitor her health.
A ventilator and a feeding tube are just two of the devices Victoria needs to survive.
A waist-high tower of medical equipment always needs to be with her, even when she goes to the doctors, and it all has to be crammed into Reinhardt’s four-door sedan.
“Everything pretty much sits on one side, and the oxygen tanks, I try to lay across, put the vents on top of those," Reinhardt said. “Pulse socks I’ll sit right here. Suction and everything else I try to sit right beside her, because the nurse has to be able to reach everything."
She is in need of a handicap van - a vehicle with enough space so she won’t have to load in each machine one-by-one.
In total, it takes about a half-hour, but time is crucial for a child in Victoria’s condition.
“She woke up and she had blood coming up through her trache. So I called [doctors] and I told them, and they said we got to get her [to the hospital] right away," she said.
Handicap vans can run about $25,000 to $30,000 and Reinhardt just can’t afford that expense.
On top of still paying off medical bills, Reinhardt has three children to care for. She does get help from family members with larger cars, but they don’t live close by. She also has applied for grants but was told no funding was available.
In the meantime, Reinhardt is asking for help so that little Victoria will continue to have a semblance of a typical childhood.
“We’re not going to give up," Reinhardt said. “Just having her here is a miracle."
A GoFundMe account has been set up for the van.