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Fundraiser established to replace wheelchair-accessible van

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A motor vehicle collision early in May has resulted in uncertainty for a Brantford family.

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Lynn and Gerry Parslow owned a 1999 Ford Econoline van with extended-height roof, doors and equipped with a powerlift to transport their 24-year-old son, Nathan Manners. Because of cerebral palsy, Nathan uses a power wheelchair, which is “his independence,” said his mother.

Lynn was driving from her workplace to the grocery store when a pickup truck went through a red light and struck the van, causing enough damage for the vehicle to be written off.

She said the family is being forced to look for a new van by a “driver who has taken our transportation for Nathan away from us.”

Lynn said that an initial settlement offer from her insurance company is “peanuts” compared to the cost of a modified van, which ranges from $50,000 to $80,000.

While the insurance company has provided a rental vehicle with wheelchair accessibility, she said: “It’s looming that one day, very soon, our life will drastically change.”

To help, her sister-in-law, Linda Lucier, has put together a GoFundMe campaign with a goal to raise $50,000. As of Thursday morning, $5,405 has been pledged.

“The response has been very good so far, though not as much as we had hoped,” Lucier said.

She described her nephew as an “awesome character” who wants to help everyone.

“This has gotten him down a little bit,” she said. “With COVID on top of that, he hasn’t been able to go places like they normally would.”

Lynn noted that her son has done a lot of charity work in the community through the Sunshine Foundation, including yearly garage sales the family holds to raise money for the charity.

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The family likes to go on outings to places Nathan enjoys, such as Lions Park in Burford.

She said the pandemic has been rough for her and her husband as they’ve struggled to find someone to be at home with Nathan while they go to work.

“Nathan would normally go to the Brantwood Community Centre three times per week for a day program, but due to the pandemic that’s been shut down,” said Lynn. “They do have one-on-one meetings where they’ll come and pick him up for an outing.”

She said if the van can’t be replaced, the family would have to rely on public transportation.

“I’m devastated that our life has changed.”

To contribute to the GoFundMe campaign visit www.gofundme.com/f/nathan-manners-wheelchair-van-fund-raiser

bethompson@postmedia.com

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