Thank you for taking time to consider our family’s need for a reliable van. We’ve had nothing but trouble the last year with our 1995 Dodge full sized conversion van that CIIS put a lift in. It’s been a great van but as of late it’s been breaking down and leaving us stranded. As I type this, our mechanic has been working on it since August and is afraid it’s beyond help. This leaves us unable to transport Kira for anything other than medical appointments, which we use med transport for.

Kira is 14 years old and is completely dependent on us for all of her care. She’s 100% wheelchair dependent. We have to transport in her wheelchair both due to her size and the fact that transfers need to be kept to a minimum due to her osteopenia (weak bones). She also deals with seizures and autonomic dysfunction making long transportation times on public transit difficult as she often is unable to regulate her body temperature. She comes with a lot of “stuff”: She’s trached and vented and we carry oxygen at all times.

This summer the van stranded us during the heat wave. It took 4 hours to get someone with a wheelchair van who was able to come rescue us. This is NOT ideal and downright dangerous. Her equipment all runs on batteries so we have to watch our transport times. She’s finally in a place where she’s healthy enough to be out in the community, and yet we are now effectively shut ins.

I’m working on getting her set up with Tri Met Lift so that we have a few more options. We’ve resorted to renting a wheelchair van for important family commitments, but we simply can’t afford to do that often. Our family has a few twists and turns. In 2008 we moved from Idaho to get Kira better medical care at Doernbechers Children’s Hospital. We moved in with Ken’s parents as they were getting to a point of needing help with the house. We lost Mom on July 4th, 2017 to cancer. Dad has COPD and dementia and is unable to live on his own anymore .My husband is 100% disabled with significant mobility issues due to both knees being bone on bone. Suzie is my sister in law. She has bipolar and other mental health issues as well as is developmentally delayed. She had been in adult foster care thru DD services for the last 5 years after losing her husband to cancer. Suzie is unable to be in the community alone, let alone live independently. Before Mom passed, I promised her we would make sure Suzie was ok. Part of that promise is that we moved Suzie back home at the end of September. I am her full time care provider.

I finally have everything in place to start being paid for being her PSW. The majority of my earnings are going into a supplemental needs trust we have set up for Kira’s needs specifically earmarked for buying a new/used van. We’ve put quite a bit of money into the van and it’s either now DOA, or close to it. Unfortunately my last conversation with our mechanic was not encouraging. I spoke with our CIIS caseworker regarding the lift they paid for. We are free to either sell it to put towards a new vehicle, or trade it in. I’ve also come up with a product line that helps parents care for their kiddos with various tubes/lines/vents attached. I’m putting all proceeds from those sales aside towards the purchase of a van. I’m a hard worker and resourceful, but I’m truly tapped out on time and energy to figure out how to afford a new (to us) vehicle that will be safe and reliable transportation for our entire family, not just Kira. I long for the day that we can get Kira back out for fun outings.