Donations that were made through a gofundme campaign, which were supported by several local Airdrie businesses have allowed Airdronian Kayla McPhail and her family to purchase a wheelchair-accessible van for their six-year-old son Bronson, who has cerebral palsy. McPhail said that the family was able to snag one of the last wheel-chair accessible vehicles that were being imported into Canada and have been using the car for a few weeks now.
"It is it has already made a huge impact on our family. Before I would usually wait till my husband's home if I needed to grab groceries or pick up anything from town. Now, I can just load him [Bronson] in and go and I can wheel him around the grocery store now without worrying about not having the room to put the wheelchair in," she said. "Bronson absolutely loves it because he sits in the middle and he can see out all windows and he is squealing and looking around."
At the outset, it was Bronson's aunt, Jessalyn McPhail, Kayla's sister-in-law, who had started the gofundme campaign for her nephew's birthday, but since then, a whole host of local businesses came together to support the family.
Last month, on October 20, Tires on the Run in Airdrie spearheaded a donation blitz in which customers were able to come in and have their flat tires repaired, as well as have tire inspections done for free if they chose to donate to the McPhails'. The fundraiser on October 20 raised an estimated $6,400 for the family. Apart from the October 20 fundraiser, McKee Homes in Airdrie also installed a sidewalk extension and revamped the family's driveway.
"When they heard our story, they wanted to contribute in a more personal way. With the help of their fantastic contractors they came and extended our driveway and sidewalk just in time for winter! With this extra space, the ramp can easily extend onto dry cement which allows us to get Bronson in and out safely in all seasons. We are forever grateful for the generosity of our friends, community and businesses like this," McPhail wrote in a heartwarming Facebook post.
In total, over $68,000 has been raised for little Bronson and his family and McPhail said that with the outpouring of support from the community, the fundraising goal has been changed several times to accommodate the generosity of her fellow Airdronians.
"The amount that people have rallied around our family; we've even run into people around Airdrie and they know us and they've seen Bronson. They come and say hello to us," she said. "It's so humbling. I couldn't imagine living anywhere else."
McPhail previously said that the estimated cost for a wheelchair-accessible van is in the range of $100,000 dollars.
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