AbilityVoice - A BraunAbility Blog

Fan Van Giveaway: We Have a Winner!

Posted by on Friday, September 25th, 2009


After reading through thousands and thousands of entries for the Ultimate Fan Van Giveaway over the past four months, we finally have our winner!

To start off his entry, Kody Harlow – a 14-year-old from Lebanon, Ohio – wrote, “The FanVan will make a difference in my life because it will make me smile every day.” He certainly deserves a few extra smiles in his day – and so does the rest of his family. Kody, as well as three brothers and his mother, have Mitochondrial Disease, which affects the cells responsible for converting energy for the body. The disease varies greatly in how it affects each individual, which is evident in the Harlow family. Some members of the family deal with digestive problems and mild fatigue, while Kody’s condition is more severe and has led to multi-system diseases. Because the disease has progressed more quickly in Kody, he uses a wheelchair to conserve energy. New medical problems and frequent ICU hospitalizations are a fact of life. He receives daily in-home care from nurses and is also tutored from home (his medical needs have not allowed him to attend school full-time).

“The FanVan will make a difference in my life because it will make me smile every day.”

Despite these challenges Kody still manages to be a kid. He and his brothers go to Victory Junction Gang Nascar Camp each year, where he relishes the chance to hassle driver Kyle Petty. The camp offers adventure and community for kids living with chronic illnesses. Next time he heads to camp, he’d love to pull up in his new, “pimped out” ride with matching Permobil wheelchair. “It would make Kyle Petty jealous,” he wrote, “and then we could dunk him again in the dunk tank.”

On October 16th, Kody and his family will travel to Charlotte, North Carolina, for the official presentation of the van at the Nationwide Series Dollar General 300 Race. There, he will meet our Founder and CEO Ralph Braun and the driver of the #38 Braun Racing car, Jason Leffler. The whole crowd will cheer on Kody as Jason takes him on a victory lap around the track in the Fan Van before the race! Following the official presentation, the Fan Van will travel to MC Mobility Systems in Cincinnati, where Kody and his family will take final delivery the following week.

Along with the van, Kody will receive a Permobil wheelchair and a tailgaiting package from Colman. Thank you to all of the sponsors that helped us put together this exciting package:Toyota, Permobil, Great Clips and Coleman.

Below is a recording of Ralph Braun’s phone call last week telling Kody he’d won the van. Take a minute to listen in on the call – it will definitely put a smile on your face!

Watch the video here!

One more thing – and I think this has to be fate, karma, divine intervention, or a combination of all three – Kody’s mother Stephanie pointed out to us that this week happens to be National Mitochondrial Disease Awareness Week. To find out more about the disease and how you can help those affected, please visit or

Please join us in congratulating Kody – he’s officially “off to the races” in the 2009 Ultimate Fan Van! Look for more features on Kody and his family in the weeks leading up to the presentation!

7 thoughts on “Fan Van Giveaway: We Have a Winner!

  1. Don Hodges

    Congratulations to Kody and his family for winning that awesome van. Hope it makes your life a little easier and you enjoy it for years and years. Our prayers and best wishes to you.

    Don and Sieg
    Denver CO

  2. Doug Blankenship

    Kody, you have my van – please return it immediately! Just kidding, have fun and enjoy it. Congratulations, on winning it, the best man won! Thank you Toyota, Braun, Great Clips and others for sponsoring this contest. 250 words sounds like a lot at first but it was a challenge to try and write your story within the limit. I enjoyed trying to convey my story and the opportunity to win a COOL van and wheelchair. How bout making it a yearly contest?!……..

  3. Clint Baillie

    Congratulations to Kody and his family. People like Ralph Braun and the great folks at Braun Ability are an inspiration to us all. I know I am looking forward to meeting Ralph Braun and Kody during the presentation of the Fanvan at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Keep up the great work, and keep celabrating the ability of people.
    Thanks for all you do.
    The Gang at Toyota PitPass

  4. Ken Lewis

    What a wonderful thing you have done for Kody and his family. I entered the contest also, but after reading Kody’s entry, I think the right one won. Congratulations! Sounds like Kody and his family will be able to put the fan van to good use and I am sure it will get a lot of exposure. I agree with Pat Machamer, your new van is totaly COOL! I would have been proud to drive it. Congratulations again and have fun with it.

  5. Alice Conway

    I am so proud of you and your family I am a 49 year old mom with Spina Bifida and entered but am glad you will get a chance to use it in your youth inmy youth they did not have such options and you deserve ease to move about and never take for granted today as tomorrow is the true present, get up each day and smile your way along as it brings true joy to oneself and those around. Let us advocate for more programs such as this so we all get get quality transportation to get out of our homes and into all areas of the community. Alice M Conway 521 Turner Street Auburn, NE 04210 EMail (one s on access as people should always think about access.

  6. Josh Plant


    Congratulations on winning the van, Your going to look so cool riding in it. I entered the contest too and wished the luck was on my side, but I think the right person won it. Have fun and I wish you the best for you and your family.


  7. Pat Machamer

    Hey Kody,

    Congratulations on your New Entervan, I’m a sales Rep For BraunAbility and was lucky enough to show your van at some of the races this year, i have to say the van is totaly COOL!!!!

    I’m sure you will love it!!!


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