Commonwealth Journal

July 12, 2012

Online campaign aims to get 8-year-old girl a new wheelchair, special equipment for van

By SETH LITTRELL, CJ Staff Writer
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset —  

In the midst of a bad economy, when everyone is feeling the pressure of tough times, one local family has come up with a creative way to address a new challenge they are facing.
David and Heather Powell of Pulaski County are the parents of twin 8-year-olds Lacey and Macey. Macey has cerebral palsy, and has to rely on a wheelchair to get around. The problem is that Macey is beginning to outgrow her previous means of transportation.
When she was little, Macey could go from place to place easily by using her youth wheelchair or by being carried by her parents. 
But, as she grows, it’s become more difficult for David and Heather to carry Macey around, and she’s outgrown her wheelchair too.
“She actually broke her leg while out playing in the wheelchair because she outgrew it,” Heather said.
Getting in and out of the family’s van has also become a challenge for Macey and her parents. David said there are handicap-accessible vans available, but right now the Powell family simply can’t afford another car payment.
Instead, the Powells want to refit the van they have in order to make it accessible. They want to get a wheelchair lift and transfer seat to mount on the van, in addition to a new wheelchair for Macey.
“The real urgency is with the wheelchair,” David said
The wheelchair David and Heather want for Macey is a power wheelchair from Etac. 
The new chair is motorized and will allow her more control, allowing her to raise and lower the chair and control her speed of movement. The new chair itself will cost $5,000, and with the accessories for the van the total cost of Macey’s upgrade will come to a steep $15,000.
“It’s going to allow her to be so much more independent than she has been,” Heather said.
David said they originally went to their insurance provider to try to get a new wheelchair, but they were turned down because their insurance will only cover the cost of purchasing a new wheelchair once every five years, and Macey has only had her current wheelchair for about half of that time.
In an effort to cover the cost of the new equipment, Heather has created a campaign through indiegogo.com, a fundraising website, called “Macey’s New Adventure.” 
Indiegogo allows people to create and share fundraising campaigns over the internet using social media. If enough people visit a campaign page, indiegogo gives it a featured spot on the website’s homepage so that it is more visible to potential donors.
Macey’s campaign is straightforward, if a bit daunting — raise the $15,000 in 60 days before the campaign expires. 
There is no minimum or maximum donation amount requested, and the Powells ask that anyone willing to donate give whatever they can. So far 10 donors have put a total of $380 toward Macey’s campaign.
The campaign currently has 52 days remaining.
As a way of saying thank you to donors, the Powells are offering rewards for donations that vary based on the size of the donation. A dollar donation gets the donor a “kiss from Macey,” either in person or in the form of a short video. Those who donate $100 are invited to the Powell’s house for a cookout and campfire sing-along. People willing to donate $500 or more and living in the Pulaski or Cincinnati qualify for a visit and personal thank you from the family.
While the large dollar amount seems difficult to reach, and the time to reach it may seem short, the Powells aren’t worried.
“We’re 100 percent confident that, with the support of our family, friends and neighbors, we are going to meet it,” Heather said.
The indiegogo.com campaign will be accepting donations until September 2, 2012. Donors can send contributions by credit, debit or Paypal until that time. 
For more information about Macey and the Powells’ campaign, visit www.indiegogo.com/maceysnewadventure.