BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Angelica Gonzalez, an employee at Patriot Bank, is on a mission to help her mother take care of her younger sister, who has cerebral palsy.
Yolanda Gonzales has three daughters, including 10-year-old Lisabeth with cerebral palsy.
Between shifts and caring for the family, which includes bringing Lisabeth, who can't walk, stand or talk, to daily therapy appointments.
She does so in an older van that does not have wheelchair accessibility.
In order to buy a new van that has the capabilities, she bakes as a fundraiser and posts fliers around the area.
Meanwhile, Angelica's co-workers have contributed to the cause. In addition, she's established from GoFundMe donor page to spread the word about the family's mission. To date, $4,950 has been raised, but "much more is needed," according to Kaylyn Alexander, of Patriot Bank, shedding light on the donation page.
"As Lizabeth gets older, taller and heavier, the physical toll on our mom – also the sole caregiver for our grandfather with Parkinson’s disease and Lizabeth’s twin Izabelle, who is on the autism spectrum – is becoming difficult to manage," said Angelica, telling her family's story.
"My mom needs to lift and carry my sister in and out of the current vehicle along with her bulky wheelchair.
“On an almost daily basis, my mom carries Lizabeth from the house to her car seat in the van, then puts her 100-pound wheelchair in the trunk,” said Angelica.
“My mother has gotten hurt many times in this process. Each time my mother gets hurt, it takes an even bigger toll on her.”
The van the family needs would have a side wheelchair entry to simplify traveling.
It would automatically unfold the ramp and lift Lizabeth while in her wheelchair, eliminating most of the heavy lifting now required of Yolanda, Alexander said.
The estimated cost to purchase and retrofit such a vehicle is $54,000, according to an estimate by Ride-Away, a wheelchair-accessible vehicle and adaptive equipment company.
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