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Mobility Means Everything to the Callaway Family

Taking your child to doctor appointments shouldn’t be a challenge, but for families with children with disabilities, it can be that and much more; it can actually be life-threatening. Thankfully, there are organizations like Chive Charities who assist families when trying to purchase a wheelchair accessible vehicle.

Today is a special day. The Callaway family will be driving home in their new, safe, and reliable wheelchair accessible transportation from United Access (1389 N Cedarbrook Ave, Springfield, MO 65802). The Callaway Family will be leaving in their new 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan with CompanionVan side entry, making everyone’s life a little easier. Thanks to Chive Charities and their generous donors for helping to make this happen.

About the Callaway Family

“We were given a grim diagnosis from the start,” said Mrs. Callaway. “We were told he would never make it to birth and if he did, to cherish the short time we would have with him. The hospital had us fill out a death and funeral care plan before we were to deliver him.”

Raylan is truly a miracle. Raylan was diagnosed with Alobar Holoprosencephaly (HPE) at 20 weeks gestation. HPE is a rare brain malformation affecting 1 in 5,000 to 10,000 live births. Current studies indicate that only three percent of all fetuses diagnosed with HPE survive birth, and only one percent survive longer than 6-months. Raylan is beating the odds as he is now 7 years old!

Raylan was born by C-section due to his head being so large. He had hydrocephalus, also known as water on the brain.  He was 11lbs 11oz and most all that was in his head. The day after he was born, the family asked the doctor if there was anything that could be done to help Raylan be more comfortable. The doctor wasn’t optimistic and told Raylan’s parents that he couldn’t feel anything and to just let nature take its course. Thankfully that is not where his story ended. “We had an amazing nurse who stayed in the room with us after that doctor left,” said Mrs. Callaway.

She asked us what we wanted for Raylan. We told her that he was fighting to live and we were going to fight for him.”

This nurse went above and beyond to help this family. She called in an amazing neurosurgeon, even though he was on vacation, he came to meet Raylan straight from the airport. “This new doctor came in the room, picked up our son, and gave us the most optimistic news we had heard since hearing of his diagnosis.” After an examination, this new doctor believed that Raylan could live as long as 18 to 24 months but that would require putting in a VP shunt in Raylan to drain the extra fluid from his head. The surgery went well and the Callaways were able to bring their son home. Not long after being home, they noticed that Raylan was extremely irritable and were struggling to feed him. The shunt was infected and this required another surgery and six weeks in the hospital. The first two years of Raylan’s life were tumultuous and even the neurosurgeon who gave the family their most optimistic life expectancy is amazed on how well he is doing.

Raylan has Cerebral Palsy with spasticitydiabetes insipidus, ventricular shunt for hydrocephalus, and feeding tube all due to having HPE. He is nonverbal but communicates with his facial expressions.  He has no head, neck, or trunk control and relies on his family for total care. Raylan is in a wheelchair. Through the last couple of years, he has had to have hip surgery due to his spasticity pulling his legs out of his hip joints. “Raylan’s spasticity is one of our biggest struggles,” said Mrs. Callaway. “Raylan gets over stimulated easily causing his muscles to get tight. When this happens his whole body gets red and splotchy. He begins shaking all over, screaming, he gets sweaty and his blood pressure spikes.” This condition is called storming.

Despite all this Raylan is a happy guy with a contagious smile. He loves his sisters and he loves being the center of attention.

Raylan has three amazing sisters – Mackenzie is 18, Miya is 14, and Madi is 11. They are great with their little brother and include him in everything they do. Mr. Callaway works as a Sheriff Deputy for Webster County while also owning and operating a small excavating business, Callaway Excavating. Mrs. Callaway stays home to care for Raylan. Going from therapy appointments to doctor appointments and overall daily care, it’s a full-time job.

Receiving an accessible vehicle is such a blessing for our family,” said Mrs. Callaway. “I currently drive a Suburban, but it is almost impossible for me to go anywhere alone with Raylan. Raylan’s wheelchair weighs 72 pounds. It is a struggle to lift it in and out of the back of the Suburban by myself. Raylan is also getting bigger. I have to transfer him to his car seat, which he is also starting to outgrow. It has gotten to where I would rather stay home than get him out.  A handicap accessible vehicle means he could stay in his wheelchair and we wouldn’t have to lift it, and him, in and out of the back of the Suburban.” This grant would make our life so much easier to go places and make the going more enjoyable.

For more information about Chive Charities, visit chivecharities.org. For more information about United Access, visit www.unitedaccess.com.

It’s Time to Winterize

It’s that time of year when the roads can be hard to navigate between the snow and the ice. Make sure you and your vehicle are ready for the winter weather. Vehicles today are smarter to help you maneuver driving in bad weather, but there are still a few steps you can take to be proactive and safe. Here’s a short list of things to check:

  • Antifreeze: It is important to have the correct antifreeze/water mixture to prevent fluid from freezing in your radiator. Consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual for information.
  • Battery: Check your battery. Cold weather is tough on your car’s battery. During cold weather, your engine requires more current from the battery in order to get the engine started. Make sure it’s up to the job.
  • Windshield Wiper Blades: Wiper blades are only good for a year. Replace yours if they look frayed or worn.
  • Windshield Wiper Fluid: Use freeze-resistant wiper fluid to keep your windshield clean and your vision clear.
  • Tires: Check your tires. Low air pressure and worn tires are especially dangerous on wet or slick roads, as both can reduce traction. Check your owner’s manual for the recommended PSI.
  • Oil: Check to make sure your oil levels are full.
  • Emergency Kit: Be prepared in case of an emergency. Keeping a safety kit in your car all year is a good idea, but especially important in those colder winter months. Items to include in your winter safety kit include:
    • Phone charger
    • Flashlight
    • Blanket, leather gloves, and hat
    • Bag of kitty litter or sand
    • Ice scraper and brush
    • Small shovel
    • Safe and leak-proof container of coolant
    • Snacks

If you don’t have time or you aren’t able to do the maintenance yourself, make sure you take your vehicle to a professional so you are safe on the roads during the winter months. If you want to make an appointment, with United Access, call us at 877-501-8267 or book your service appointment online.

Steelman Family Foundation Announces Exclusive Partnership with United Access

The Steelman Family Foundation, who focuses its efforts on serving families with children who have disabilities, with a special heart for children with Cerebral Palsy and Autism, announced today that they partnered with United Access, formerly Performance Mobility, as their wheelchair accessible vehicle provider.

 

“We are dedicated to giving back to the community that has given so much to us,” said René Steelman, founder of the Foundation. “We are pleased to welcome United Access as our exclusive wheelchair accessible vehicle provider. We have worked with United Access, formerly Performance Mobility, for a number of years. They have proven to be a trusted partner and are excited to expand our relationship with them.”

 

“The stories we hear every day and the smiles we see on our customers faces when they drive away for the first time, fuel our passion for the work we do,” said Jeff Brummett, president of United Access. “Serving others is, and always has been, at the heart of what we do. We believe that the Steelman Family Foundation shares both our same mission and values, that’s why we chose to partner with them. We look forward to many years of working together.”

Making wheelchair van adjustments for the first time can seem like a daunting task.

There are so many factors to consider and it is easy to become overwhelmed. At United Access, we do everything we can to give you peace of mind, because expanding your independence on the road shouldn’t be an uphill battle. Here are a couple of ways that our team works to make your wheelchair van purchase unique and special!

Knowledgeable Wheelchair Van Specialists

There are thousands of wheelchair vans and lift options available for people with disabilities. While this is great news for those with unique mobility needs, it can make the process of purchasing your wheelchair van more complicated. The United Access Mobility Specialists are experts in their field and can find a solution that’s right for you. Our sales team receives comprehensive and up to date product training in order to give you a perfect fit with the latest technology. We also want you to know how much we care! Dallas Mobility Specialist Sam Brenner, pictured here, likes to give little gifts (like cakes!) to her customers when they finally get to take their vehicle home. In this picture, though, Sam got a “taste” of her own medicine; her newest customer actually gifted her a cheesecake out of thankfulness for what they accomplished together.

Personalized Care

When it comes to mobility solutions, there is no “one size fits all” answer. Every wheelchair user is different, and therefore has very different needs for not only their wheelchair van but also their lifestyle. United Access will find you the products you need and make sure they function flawlessly for a long time. We offer 24/7 emergency service and regular tune ups for our customers. So whether your wheelchair van is experiencing complications from Denver snow or your air conditioning is acting up in the Dallas heat, United Access is there to take care of you!

United Access Personalized care

Wheelchair Van Financing Options

Wheelchair vans are no small investment, but United Access wants to ensure that people with physical disabilities can have independence no matter their income. That’s why we work with multiple banks and funding resources to find a financial plan that’s right for you. Our mobility specialists will work with your budget and even help you reach out to charities and associations willing to donate!

United Access Financing Options
Kyle Harris, Dallas Mobility Specialist, with a family who chose a BraunAbility Ford Explorer MXV to fulfill their daughter’s needs!

Local Community Involvement

Finding independence with a physical disability can be a long journey, and United Access is grateful to assist when it comes to your vehicle modifications. However, we understand that mobility and independence takes more than just a wheelchair van. That is why we are so thankful to our community partners when it comes to getting out customers the help they need. When you come to United Access for your wheelchair van, you also can find a trusted network of professionals ready to provide you with the best wheelchairs, home care, and stair lifts available today. We can also help you get connected with local support groups in your area!

The UA-Albuquerque team got together to paint for a purpose!

What You can Expect from a Visit to United Access

While there might be other mobility dealers to choose from, no one comes close to United Access in safety, customer satisfaction, and community care. We provide the best products modern technology has to offer combined with the compassion and understanding of a small family owned business. When you come to us to find your independence, you can expect premier service and reliable, long-lasting mobility equipment.

Contact us today to learn how one of our Mobility Specialists can help find the right mobility solution for you.