On the morning of June 6, Christy Talley left her home in Cordova, Tennessee, only to notice something missing. Her 1996 Plymouth Caravan was not where she had last parked it. She soon discovered that the vehicle had been stolen and stripped of its battery, ignition, tires, steering column, and most importantly, her mother’s wheelchair lift.
“I just kept walking around the driveway thinking to myself, ‘It was just here, it should be here.’ I just couldn’t comprehend that it was actually gone,” she said.
The van would cost approximately $700 to repair, a fraction of the cost of a new wheelchair lift.
Talley, 59, had purchased the van in 1996 for her mother. Jerry Talley, Christy’s mother, is paralyzed on the left side from an aneurysm, stroke, and surgery. She relies on the van to get her anywhere outside of the nursing home she lives at.
Talley contacted United Access of Memphis, Tennessee for help, as her social worker salary could not buy a new van for her mother. Justin Searcy, mobility specialist for United Access, contacted BraunAbility, the wheelchair lift manufacturer, and created a solution for the Talleys. United Access and BraunAbility would pair up to donate a used Mini-Vangater lift to fix their van.
Friday, July 20, United Access and BraunAbility presented the repaired van to the elated Talley family. The next day, Jerry took her first ride in her van since June. They went to get Chinese food, Jerry’s favorite, for lunch to celebrate.
“I wanna get going,” Jerry said, pointing to the sky to signal that she wanted to be lifted in the van.
Impound lot employees informed Talley that burglars often sell wheelchair lifts as scrap metal. The wheelchair lift is usually sold as scrap for $30-$50.
United Access employees had signed the lift after installing it; along with a new carpet.
It’s just in time for my birthday,” Jerry said. She turns 82 on Thursday.
Another $200 donation the Talleys received will go to an alarm system for the van.
“We’re getting a burglar alarm ’cause they’re not getting this one,” Talley said.