Lifting Drew Up

Variety Teen Drew’s new power wheelchair has changed his life in a huge way. But, to him, it has been the seemingly little things that have made a big difference.

Drew’s mom, Kris, recently shared these photos of Drew decorating his family’s Christmas tree this past holiday season. Thanks to the seat elevator feature on the power wheelchair, which was funded by Variety, this was the first time Drew was able to reach the higher boughs on his own.

He can also now easily reach his kitchen countertops and microwave to make meals and snacks whenever he wants. And he is finally able to have conversations with his peers at eye level.

“One of the best things about the seat elevator is it allows him to join others that are standing to have a conversation,” says Kris. “He raises up and joins in instead of sitting at a lower level, where he is often left out.”

Without Variety, however, Drew would still be left out of the conversation. His family’s insurance company considers the seat elevator an “item of convenience,” and would not cover it on his power wheelchair. Knowing that it is, in fact, a much-needed feature, Drew’s parents had started looking into borrowing from a 401K to fund it.

“Having a child with special needs can be financially draining with all the extra ‘conveniences’ they require on a regular basis, just to attempt to accomplish basic tasks all of us ‘able-bodied’ people take for granted,” says Kris.

Then, they found out that Variety would cover the seat elevator, making it possible for them to add it to Drew’s power wheelchair without any added stress.

In addition to the seat elevator, Drew has attended Variety’s Adventure Camp program for two summers, where he has had tons of great experiences and made new friends. He also receives assistance through Variety’s TherHappy Kids program, which makes it possible for him to build strength, learn new skills and more through physical therapy, further increasing his ability to access his world independently.

“Without Variety’s help, we’d often be forced to make difficult decisions just to be able to afford to provide Drew with therapy or equipment that improves his quality of life, thus improving all the lives in our family,” Kris says. “Thank you for all you do!”

Want to give to help more Variety Kids like Drew access their worlds and redefine their abilities? You can give at any time throughout the year at HelpAVarietyKid.org.