Community Gifts Family Wheelchair-Accessible Van | NECN
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Community Gifts Family Wheelchair-Accessible Van

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    NEWSLETTERS

    (Published Wednesday, June 22, 2016)

    For Sophia Roettger, some days are better than others. Tuesday, was not a good day.

    “She was up from three in the morning throughout the entire day she was having seizures on and off," said her mother Christina.

    Rett Syndrome has taken away the six-year-old's ability to walk and talk. Now thanks to an outpouring of support from around Connecticut, life is about to get easier for her and her family.

    Wednesday, her spirits were better as her family picked up a new accessible van from Advanced Wheels in East Granby, to take her safely and securely to all of her appointments in her wheelchair.

    "I can’t wait to see her get in this van," said Christina excitedly.

    The cost to make a van wheelchair accessibility was $26,000, almost as much as the vehicle itself. The family thought it would take years to have this minivan, but thanks to their community, it only took eight months. The Wheels for Sophia campaign started with one donation in October and grew to several fundraisers.

    “I never thought this day would ever happened," said Christina.

    “There’s no way. There’s no way the van would have come this quickly without the support that we got," added Sophia's father Ryan.

    With half the money raised by friends, family, and strangers, the non-profit Amy’s Angels helped the Roettgers reach the finish line.

    “It didn’t take much to want to try to get involved and help them," said Bob Fiondella, Founder of Amy's Angels. “Our mission is to assist individuals and their families dealing with a serious illness and injury.”

    “We really wanted it and we saved up, and we’re really humble for what we have now, and we saved up for the van, and now our dreams came true," said Sophia's 10-year-old brother Tyler.

    Despite losing the ability to walk, talk, and feed herself, Sophia keeps growing, which made it difficult on mom and dad to get her into their old minivan without bumping her head.

    “We’d literally have to crawl into the vehicle with her, tilt her horizontally, and then lift her up," Ryan explained.

    Not anymore.

    “It’s great. Can’t really say anything else. It’s great," he added.