Transportation is something many of us sometimes take for granted. But for others, just getting outside can be a challenge.
May is National Mobility Awareness Month, and area families are trying to get the word out now about difficulties the disabled face every day.
The National Mobility Awareness Month organization is hosting a contest to give away three wheelchair accessible vans to people who need them. There are more than 60 pages of biographies of people needing help.
A handicap accessible vehicle is just one of the many costs and difficulties families of the disabled face.
Families like Lindsey Russell and her seven-year-old son Camden face new challenges every day.
Tasks as simple as getting into the car are tough.
"In the morning I carry him into the car, get him in there; it's a lot of lifting," Russell says.
Camden was diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy. He had his first seizure when he was just four months old.
"It was very scary," Russell says.
Advocacy groups estimate only one in every 40,000 children are affected.
"It's very hard to watch him have a seizure," Russell says.
With the disease come many other costs: medicines, doctor visits and challenges at home, including things like installing a ramp.
"Otherwise, I'll have to be lifting him a couple times to get him out of the house," Russell says.
Also, they'll need a lift to get Camden out of the bath tub when he gets older. "The bigger he gets the harder it is," Russell says. Right now Camden weighs about 60 pounds. His wheelchair weighs about another 60.
But Russell says they need an accessible van most right now, which could cost upwards of $50,000.
"A lot of things are covered by insurance, but these types of things are not and they're very very expensive," she says.
Russell has been looking for a van to help Camden for over a year, but hasn't had much luck.
"He can stay in his chair, we don't have to transfer him into a different kind of seat," she says.
They're hoping for some relief soon, by raising awareness for others just like Camden.
"It would be really a big help for us," Russell says.
There are others in our area who are also in need of your help, click the following links to read more about their stories and vote! You can vote once per IP address per day until May 10th.
Lindsey and Camden Russell, McCausland, IA: http://www.mobilityawarenessmonth.com/entrant/lindsey-russell-mccausland-ia/
Jay Henshaw, Oquawka, IL: http://www.mobilityawarenessmonth.com/entrant/jay-henshaw-oquawka-il/
Samantha Curley, Burlington, IA: http://www.mobilityawarenessmonth.com/entrant/samantha-curley-burlington-ia/