Community helps Saugerties family get new van with wheelchair ramp

Tim, Cassandra and Valerie inside the van.

A long-awaited dream of a wheelchair accessible van for Tim and Valerie Scott, and son Tim Jr., for their daughter Cassandra came true this week. Thanks in part to the generosity of family, friends, neighbors and strangers, a shiny red van with a wheelchair ramp was purchased and immediately put to good use by taking Cassandra to the Saugerties Library, which happens to be one of their favorite places in town.

The journey began in December of 2015 with a GoFundMe page titled “Keep Cassandra Moving!” Their van was old, full of rust and didn’t accommodate Cassandra’s needs.

Cassandra was born was born 14 weeks prematurely and needs round the clock care due to Cerebral Palsy and Epilepsy. She needs therapy treatments and doctors visits, both locally and regionally. Valerie cares for Cassandra full time and takes her to all her appointments while Tim works as produce manager at Adams Fairacre Farms in Kingston.

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Word spread about the fundraising campaign on social media and, through friends and family, $4,640 was donated to the cause.

Mike, Valerie’s brother, drove their old van to a scrap yard in Kingston on Monday this week and said after turning the first corner he wasn’t sure the wheels would straighten out again or that he’d actually make it to Kingston!

Valerie and the family are thrilled with their new van now that they no longer have to strain to lift Cassandra in and out of her wheelchair and into the seat in the van. Tim demonstrated how easy it is by simply rolling Cassandra in her wheelchair up the ramp which is then anchored to the specially lowered floor with four retractable locking clamps. Note to readers: this is why you give extra room when parking next to a vehicle with a blue badge wheelchair symbol.

Valerie, Tim and Tim Jr. want to express their heartfelt gratitude to everyone who donated to make this dream possible.

It’s a blessing that so many people have generously given to help make Cassandra’s and her family’s life a bit easier and has taken the stress out of every journey.

Next month the family is planning an overnight trip to the Jersey Shore to stroll on the boardwalk, smell the salty breeze and take a well deserved short break. Their new van makes that possible. Thank you to all who cared and shared and donated.

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