Grand Rapids family surprised with wheelchair-accessible van


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A well-deserving Grand Rapids family has a new set of wheels thanks to a local nonprofit and anonymous donor.

The Dean Family first reached out to Lori’s Voice for help with fundraising for a wheelchair-accessible van. On Monday, they visited Clock Mobility in Grand Rapids under the impression that Lori’s Voice was helping them get more support for a March fundraiser.

To their surprise, they learned an anonymous donor had gifted the nonprofit with a ramp-equipped Honda van that is perfect for the Dean family.

The Deans’ 9-year-old son Tommy has cerebral palsy. Until now, his parents had to lift him out of his chair and into a car seat when they traveled, making getting around more time consuming.

“It takes just so much planning and so much physical work and we can’t be spontaneous because it takes so much work,” Tommy’s mom, Amy Dean, explained.

“We’re just changing lives at Lori’s Voice and it’s so exciting because I know firsthand what it’s like to have my independence with the van so I take this very personal. It’s heartwarming to know we’re going to make a huge difference in their lives today,” founder Lori Hastings, who uses a wheelchair, told 24 Hour News 8.

The van is much more than a new car to the Deans.

“We’re going to be able to go so many more places with a lot less planning now. It was to the point where Amy couldn’t really get Tommy in and out of the car seat by herself. It was really a two-person job because he’s getting so big and now that’s not going to be an issue,” Tommy’s dad, Troy Dean, said.

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