Durham family needs your help to receive new wheelchair accessible vehicle for their two children suffering from a rare condition


This family not only needs my help but all of yours.

Jack and Luke are two brothers, just 6 and 5. They were both born with the same extremely rare genetic mutation.

"Jack and Luke require total care. They don't sit up on their own. They don't walk," said the boy's mother, Arden Mills. "They're non-verbal. They don't communicate their wants and needs, which can be difficult."

However, the boys' disabilities haven't stopped the Mills family.

"We try to give them as a normal life as much as possible, and we want to take them to the zoo, and take them to the park," said Arden.

Experiencing those simple joys, along with the weekly trips to the doctor and therapy, plus with school, are getting tougher.  It's a huge feat for mom and dad -- Arden and Adam -- to just get the family out of their home.

When going out, Adam starts with getting Jack to the car, which is a struggle since he's more than 50 pounds. It involves getting Jack out of his wheelchair and into a car seat.

"They're just getting bigger and bigger and bigger, and I'm getting older and older and older, and we just want to continue the best we can, and we need help. We need help," said Adam.

The family needs help getting a new vehicle. The vehicle they have now just no longer is big enough.

"It's like playing Tetris," said Adam about trying to fit everything inside their vehicle.

It's a puzzle trying to figure out how to fit two wheelchairs in the back. Both have to be broken down small enough so both fit, and in reality not even all the parts make it.

Once the two wheelchairs are in, Luke is still waiting patiently. He's still small enough to be carried out and put into his car seat, but mom and dad both worry how much longer they can keep carrying the boys.

"It's definitely something," said Adam. "It's always on my mind and kind of weighs on my heart."

The Mills family is one of 1,200 families in the running for a brand new customer wheelchair accessible vehicle.

"It would just mean the world -- freedom. Freedom for both of the boys to be able to experience life just a little but like typical kids," said Arden.

The accessible van would mean, instead of breaking down each wheelchair and putting Jack and Luke in their car seats, both boys could just be wheeled into the van, without ever leaving their wheelchairs.

"This is a pretty cool opportunity that our community can help us, and it just takes a couple moments a day but it means the world to us," said Adam.

The contest is for National Mobility Awareness Month. All you have to do is vote, which you can do daily. (Click here to vote.)

Wheelchair accessible vans are expensive, especially in this case, because the van not only has to be equipped to handle one wheelchair but two. Arden estimates it would cost about $40,000 to $70,000.

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