Who is your hero?
Maybe it’s Superman - he can fly, makes the world a safer place, has great hair.
Maybe it’s Deadpool - he’s funny, adventurous, and wears a really cool outfit.
We admire people who are able to do the things we could never do.
That’s why our recipient, Yusef, looks up to The Hulk and Thor. While most 13 year olds like himself do, Yusef has even more reason to idolize these muscular guys; he has Hypotonia (low muscle tone) and an undefined congenital myopathy. This causes arm, leg, and neck weakness, repeated pneumonia, and difficulty with choking on saliva. He has always had delays in his motor skills and speech, and the worst part is that it can’t get better, only worse.
Yusef, his parents, and his younger siblings live in Michigan. His mom stays home to take care of the bunch, and his dad is in law enforcement. While they once loved to travel and explore, Yusef’s medical complications make it almost impossible now. And as their youngest, Adam, begins to grow, they are having to accept a terrifying truth: Adam is showing the same signs of deterioration that Yusef has.
Although everything from moving his hands to speaking is hard for Yusef, that hasn’t stopped him from having dreams.
We received a box at HQ the other day full of paintings Yusef made for us. These treasured beauties are a testament to his talent and unrelenting positivity. Yusef does get down sometimes, like when he wishes he could just go to his friend’s house without all the trouble and discomfort that comes with traveling.
The worst possible thing for a teenager is to be stuck at home with their parents, but for Yusef, that’s life.
A lot of us take mobility for granted. Imagine, for a moment, that you are REALLY craving mac and cheese, and you need to get to Target immediately to fulfill the need, the need for cheese (this is in no way a personal issue I face weekly). Now imagine having to ask your mom to wrangle your young siblings into the family car, pack up your wheelchair in the trunk, lift your teenage-boy-sized body into the car by herself, and do it all again in the parking lot after the mac has been acquired. You’d probably just make a PB&J and be sad.
And mac and cheese is truly the bottom of Yusef’s Hierarchy of Needs; imagine going through all this trouble to do something truly vital, like making it to a doctor or specialist appointment that you’ve needed for months.
Yusef’s dad, a border protection agent, has flipped his whole life around for the love of his family. He took the night shift, working through the night and morning so he can come home, exhausted, only to take some burden off of his wife so she can take Yusef to the doctor, get groceries, and keep their household afloat.
Gone are the days of family vacations.
Of sunny days on the playground.
Of walks in nature.
While Yusef’s life has always looked a lot like this, lately things for the whole family are harder than ever. As Yusef and his siblings grow up, and as Adam progresses in his diagnosis, they all have more needs than ever, and their current method of transportation just isn’t cutting it anymore.
And that’s why we stepped in.
To us, Yusef is a hero. He does things every day that I know I don’t have the mental or emotional strength to handle. When we heard his story, we knew we had to help him start living his dreams.
Our mission is simple: we want to make the world happier, one recipient at a time. To date, we’ve donated 135 mobility vans and we’ve seen the profound way they change the lives of not only the recipient - but the entire family as well.
Luckily for us, Yusef, and our future recipients, we recently partnered with Vantage Mobility International! This partnership will allow us to help more recipients in need of ADA accessible vehicles in 2020. Together, we will continue to provide mobility and freedom to those who need and deserve it most. We are thrilled to launch this new partnership and eager to see the impact grow in the lives of our future recipients. Welcome to the family, VMI!
VMI paired Yusef and his family with the perfect wheelchair-accessible van, with enough room for two wheelchairs, if and when that time comes.
Gone are the days of saying no to mac and cheese, of missing out on Minecraft sessions with friends, of being stuck in the house all day. Our donors changed Yusef’s life with a $51,000 Ford Transit Passenger that has all the accouterments that anyone with mobility differences would be thrilled about!
And thrilled Yusef is. He sent us this video explaining all the awesome things he has done and looks forward to doing with his new ride already. He may look up to Thor and The Hulk for their muscles, but it’s safe to say he has a new hero to add to that list, and it’s you donors who made this possible with your monthly contributions to Chive Charities.
Are you ready to become someone’s hero? Well, it’s easy and flexible, and the way to get started is right HERE!