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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.

Accessible Transportation Means Independence for Connor

The McCarthy’s are a family who knows that life can change in an instant. Paul and Tanya McCarty live in Battleground, Washington with their two children. At the young age of sever, Conor, their son, was diagnosed with Ullrich Muscular Dystrophy, a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy. The doctors thought that he had only a mild case, but then things changed.

United Access Conor McCarthy

 

Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy is a condition that mainly affects skeletal muscles (the muscles used for movement). Affected individuals show severe muscle weakness soon after birth, develop stiff joints (contractures) in their knees and elbows, and may have an unusual range of movement (hypermobility) in their wrists and ankles. Some of the debilitating symptoms of this disease include respiratory failure, scoliosis, and hip dislocation.

 

The last two years have been difficult for everyone in the family, but mostly for Conor. Conor stopped walking just before the 6th grade; contractures formed in his knees and elbows. Recently, Conor underwent a surgery to put rods into his back as a result of his scoliosis. Conor’s lungs are functioning at 29% of normal capacity.

“We, thankfully, do have a 2006 minivan,” says Mrs. McCarthy. “This is the only car we are able to get him [Conor] in and out of at this time due to the contractures in his knees. My kids go to a private school with no bus service, so we drive them back and forth daily. We have to lift my son in and out of the front seat.” As a result, Conor has chosen not to leave the house except for school. The lifting, pushing and pulling to transfer him in and out of the minivan has become too much for him. He says it hurts and he is afraid that his parents will get hurt as well.

 

Thanks to the Steelman Family Foundation, a few private donors, and the family’s own funds, the McCarthy family will be driving away in their beautiful midnight blue, side-entry, Honda Odyssey minivan from United Access [12905 NE Airport Way, Portland, OR 97230]. “Having an accessible van where Conor can easily enter and exit on his own is life changing for us. We will be able to do things as a family again and Conor will have his independence back.”

For more information about the Steelman Family Foundation, visit www.steelmanfamilyfoundation.org. For more information about United Access, visit www.unitedaccess.com.

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.

Wheelchair Van Industry Leaders Join Forces

United Access Partners with Performance Mobility

Historic partnership promises better customer service for people with disabilities

Just weeks into a new year, United Access has officially partnered with the third largest mobility dealership in the country, Performance Mobility. This achievement adds nine new locations to United Access’ list of stores, bringing our total to twenty-six locations. We are thrilled that this westward expansion offers us the opportunity to serve a even more people with disabilities who need a wheelchair van or other vehicle modifications to live their lives to the fullest.

Richard May, President of United Access, has published a statement in regards to this decision. We ask that you take a moment to read his thoughts.


Dear friends and customers of United Access:

January 18, 2017 officially marks the day we welcomed Performance Mobility to the United Access family. Performance Mobility, a leading mobility dealership with nine locations across the country’s western regions, will join forces with United Access to serve even more people with disabilities as they seek freedom and independence on the road.

Part of our decision to partner with Performance Mobility was based on our deep respect for the company’s people and culture. Twenty years under the United Access banner has taught us many things, but the most important lesson we’ve learned is that sticking to the clear, simple goal of providing the best customer service, period, has earned us endless opportunities to give people the gift of freedom and independence. As we continue to grow, we’ll keep providing more opportunities for internal development and personal growth. In short, we are surely stronger together.

As you know, our promise is to provide the best customer service, period, as we help those in our communities understand and support accessibility for all. Now, our premier dealership has more resources, and a wider diversity of ideas, to help us find ways to improve our customer service.

This is the largest acquisition we have completed to date, and we would not have achieved this goal without the diligent effort of our staff and the ongoing faith and trust of our customers and friends. So, thank you for your support of our growth. We are very eager to start this new chapter of United Access’ story with you.

Sincerely,

Richard May
President, United Access


Over the next several months, we will be working diligently to marry the culture of Performance with that of United Access as we adopt and refine the processes that contribute to our reputation for strong customer service.
Additionally, you can rest assured and rely on your local UA store to continue offering top-notch service to your vehicle. Feel free to Contact Us if you have any questions or feedback to share. As always, we are here to listen.