Lincoln family gifted accessible van after dad’s ALS diagnosis

10/11 NOW at 6
Published: Aug. 26, 2022 at 5:08 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Mobility is something many of us can take for granted and for one Lincoln family losing it has been a big adjustment.

Friday morning, a few groups around town came together to give them that gift back in the form of an accessible van.

About six months ago, 26-year-old William Lewis noticed his body becoming weaker and three months ago he was diagnosed with Acute Rapid Onset ALS, the disease left him in a wheelchair and requiring extra care.

“Once in a while a story happens that just touches our hearts,” said Phoebe Hampton with Chariots4Hopes.

The plan came together when Anderson Ford reached out to Chariots4Hope, a non-profit that gives accessible vehicles to families and individuals in need. Usually, the process takes about six months of vetting and interviewing, but when they heard Lewis’s story - the process was sped up to get him into a vehicle faster.

“We’ve partnered with chariots for hope for a few years now and so it’s just kind of natural for me to connect them with them in hopes we could find a vehicle for this person,” said Mike Anderson with Anderson Ford.

The timing was perfect. A separate non-profit that also gifts accessible vans to people couldn’t find the right fit and had given Chariots 4 Hope a van with low mileage. That van turned out to be the perfect vehicle for Lewis.

Everyone involve hopes he finds the freedom he once had, to travel and take care of daily tasks with his wife and two young children.

“Every blessing is different but they are all so impactful and a lot of times there’s just some raw emotion that is felt,” Hampton said.

The van got a makeover from top to bottom by the non-profit and Friday the Lewis’s had a chance to get familiar with the new van.

“You just leave changed, after seeing that just how much somebody’s life can be impacted by a vehicle,” Hampton said.

The family did give the new van a test run Friday morning and they’ll need to make some adjustments for height before it can go home for good.