The Ehler family’s fundraising campaign for a wheelchair accessible van for father Chris, who has been living with multiple sclerosis (MS) since 2002, is being put back on the front burner with spring time, at least, on the horizon.
That was the message from Laura Lee Ehler as she spoke to the Casket recently about a June 1 dinner and auction fundraising event, planned for the East Coast Credit Union Social Enterprise Centre. She noted the dinner will be a roast beef meal catered by Mary Grace with entrainment provided by Ty Wallace and members of the MacLeod School of Highland Dance.
“We’re in the process of asking for support for the auction items,” Laura Lee said, noting other family and housing concerns (a heating pump) put the van’s focus on hold for the last few months.
“Back when we did some fundraising for the van, we raised almost $6,000,” she said, noting the GoFundMe page – ‘Chris and his family need your help’ – was very active during the first few months last summer and early fall but, of late, “has been very quiet.”
As for the need, Laura Lee noted the cold and icy winter only demonstrated more the urgency as Chris was not able to get out of the house during the season.
“My husband hasn’t been out all winter,” she said. “It’s getting really hard to transfer him into the car … or getting up and out of the car.
“With the wheelchair, he may get down a ramp but not back up; it’s the little things like that you don’t think of. Like a door with a lip; with a power chair it’s really hard. A manual chair you can tip it back but with a power chair, you can’t do that.”
Laura Lee and the rest of the family, daughter Maddie and son Nicholas, are hoping they can rise around another $9,000 which would provide them a total they have seen for a used wheelchair accessible van.
“We know someone who is selling their van in the spring; they’re asking $15,000 for it,” Laura Lee said. “So that is what we’re kind of reaching for now … it may be reachable. Getting a brand new one, we can’t see that ever happening.”
To learn more about the dinner and auction coming up, or how you can support the accessible van campaign, contact Laura Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org