Wheelchair Accessible Van is the Answer to Grandparents' Prayers

grandparents with their granddaughter who is in a wheelchair

A few weeks ago, Catherine and Leonard Limone received their first wheelchair accessible van, affording them the freedom for which they'd been waiting after seven years of perseverance.

Several years ago, the Limones adopted their baby granddaughter, Inaayah. Because of a complication after she was born, Inaayah is unable to walk or talk. Through it all, her grandparents never left her side. Leonard has committed to caring for her 24/7, and as Catherine says, We'd do it over and over again. Although unable to communicate with words, Inaayah is very bright and able to attend classes at a local school.

Naturally, as she's gotten older, she's gotten bigger too. Now at eight years old, lifting her in and out of a vehicle is no easy task. The Limones worked with Custom Mobility for years to purchase mobility equipment like portable walkers for Inaayah, always with the hope of someday purchasing a wheelchair accessible van.

That dream was postponed when in June of 2011, Grandpa Leonard suffered a massive stroke. When he returned from the hospital months later, this time in a wheelchair himself, wheelchair accessible transportation was even more critical.

After months and years of dedication, their finances came together and the Limones purchased a brand new BraunAbility Chrysler wheelchair van. At first, Catherine was a bit nervous. She'd always driven smaller vehicles, and she expected Leonard to do most of the driving of the new wheelchair accessible van.

"I'm 69 years old," she said. "At my age, you don't always want to just try new things."

But Catherine took the challenge. She loaded her husband and her granddaughter into the new van, started the engine, and took off. It was so easy, she said. I was confident immediately and so relieved.

After seven years of waiting, Inaayah can now see out of the window with no struggle or strain. For her grandparents, there's no longer any lifting or loading just roll in and go. When they tell Inaayah its time to go for a ride, she just cracks up smiling.

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