Having a child with special needs presents significant challenges to day-to-day life. One of many challenges my family has faced is transporting our 4-year-old son, Andrew. Andrew was born with an extremely rare genetic disorder (Adenylosuccinate Lyase Deficiency) that results in significant mental and developmental delays.
Confined to a wheel chair, we had become accustomed to picking him up out of his wheel chair and placing him into the car seat for any trip away from home. This worked great for awhile, but now that Andrew is 4 years old and over 40 pounds, my wife realized she was creating added stress on her, as well as back problems.
As a United States Marine Corps Officer, I travel frequently and often times my wife is left taking care of Andrew by herself. The challenge of taking Andrew with her everywhere was starting to have an impact. The result was either not going out or waiting until Andrew was at school to run errands.
When I was not traveling, one of us would stay with Andrew while the other ran errands. This all changed when we found Golden Boy Mobility.
We attended the San Diego Auto Show while visiting grandparents at Christmas time in 2012. Golden Boy Mobility was demonstrating all of the advances in handicapped-accessible vehicles. To say I was impressed is an understatement. This was the first time I had seen a converted van up close and I knew it would make a difference in our life.
Shortly after we returned home from our Christmas vacation we contacted the staff at GoldenBoy Mobility to talk about their variety of vehicles and options they had for our family. After meeting the sales people and conducting test drives, we decided to purchase the Honda Odyssey. It took approximately 5 weeks from ordering the vehicle to picking it up. The improvement in our quality of life has been tremendous.
This summer our family drove our van from San Diego to Ashland, Oregon. We traveled the Pacific Coast Highway and stopped frequently to see the amazing sites along the way. Wheeling Andrew in and out of the van made the stops easy and enjoyable. At one point during our stay in Oregon, we transported Andrew and his great grandfather, Eugene (also wheelchair-bound), in our van.
The ability to do an extended-family outing and have everyone able to attend was incredible. Had we not had the van, Eugene would have had to stay at home. Next winter we will be moving from Arizona to North Carolina and look forward to taking the van across the country.
Knowing that we can easily and safely transport Andrew now makes us excited about the future. He will never have to be left at home and we will never have an excuse to miss out on activities.