GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Across the United States and Canada, more than 18 million people have mobility issues. The month of May marks National Mobility Awareness Month. To celebrate that, and help people in need, a national promotion is looking within West Michigan to give away at least four custom-fit wheelchair accessible minivans.
The company National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) is working with Clock Mobility and Braun Ability with their annual Local Heroes promotion. Starting April 15 through April 30, anyone who uses a wheelchair can submit their story, or their loved one’s, online at MobilityAwarenessMonth.com.
Then May 1 through May 31, anyone can vote up to once per day on the person who they believe deserves a converted van the most. Judges select at least four winners from the top 10 percent of votes, and contact winners by June 18.
Marketing Manager at Clock Mobility Kadi DeHaan told FOX 17 News that her converted van gave her back her freedom.
“I just felt so independent and it just was a huge change in my life,” said DeHaan.
When she was only 16-years-old, DeHaan got into a serious car accident. Since then she uses a wheelchair, and has worked very hard to get stronger. And now seated in the driver’s seat, DeHaan is independent.
“It’s really cool showing people the independence and freedom that they can have, so that they don’t have to rely on others to help them drive and get into a vehicle,” said DeHaan.
Typically these wheelchair accessible vans cost upwards of $50,000.
DeHaan hopes that a Local Hero will be found in West Michigan.
“It would be awesome to get everybody together and have somebody from Grand Rapids, or anywhere in West Michigan, win a free van,” said DeHaan.
But no matter what, DeHaan said driving herself is something she does not take for granted.
“Even when I’m 40 and I have a family, I’m going to want to go to the store by myself, or I’m going to want to take my kids somewhere someday,” said DeHaan.
For more information, or to enter, visit MobilityAwarenessMonth.com.