Lakota student’s ‘magic van’ accommodates electric wheelchair

Wyandot Early Childhood School first-grader Emma Turner picked up her “magic van” this month and looked like she could roll on and off it all day.

Emma has Mitochondrial Syndrome, a progressive disease that saps all her energy and poses many more problems. She needed a “magic van” to accommodate her new electric wheelchair — which will be here in six to eight weeks — and Paige’s Princess Foundation helped make that wish a reality. The foundation gave Emma and her family a $2,000 grant to put toward the $70,000 “magic” van.

RELATED: First grader gets grant for her “magic van”

When asked if she likes the charcoal grey van with wheelchair ramp, she first asked where the sparkles were, but then said with a huge smile “now I can go anywhere I want.”

Her mom Jen said they got approval for a power wheelchair from their insurance company but it will be weeks before it arrives because it is being custom made for Emma’s needs. It reclines when she needs to rest, will lift her legs up and if she progresses to a point where she can’t stand on her own it will raise her out of the seat.

Emma’s dad Jonathan said both vehicles will give his daughter freedom, and that is important.

“It (the van) will definitely make the day-to-day easier,” he said. “We’re really more excited about the power chair, she’s a seven-year-old who wants to be independent and that’s what’s going to enable her to be that way.”

Jen had tears in her eyes recently when she talked about this foundation grant being the first grant she has ever applied for and actually received, because the need is so great and there are only so many funds available.

“It’s life changing…,” she said. “She is fighting Mitochondrial Syndrome, it’s an energy crisis, she doesn’t have enough energy to run her body. As she runs out of energy she doesn’t have energy to sit, to grow, to learn, to run, to play.”

Another fundraiser pulled in $16,050 dollars, several people mailed in donations and Jen said they sold “A LOT” of t-shirts. She said they raised enough money to convert the van to accommodate Emma’s wheelchair and they are getting a loan for 2015 pre-owned Honda van.

Despite the debilitating disease the seven-year-old never quits.

“I never, ever stop fighting,” Emma said. “Because I choose happiness.”

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