When Veronica arrived at the Variety office, she had to be unloaded carefully from her family’s van by way of a lift. Leaving, however, was much easier. That’s because she and her family received a big surprise – a brand new van!
We won’t soon forget the look on Veronica’s face as the new van rounded the corner, complete with a giant red bow. Both she and Baggins, her dog, were smiling from ear to ear and they couldn’t wait to check out the inside. There, they found easy access, extra space and even a built-in DVD player!
This van has a ramp that can be lowered from the back, making it easy for Veronica and Baggins to load up. There’s also space for the whole family – Veronica can either ride in the middle row, or those seats can be unfolded and she can ride in the back.
When asked about her favorite part of the van, Veronica’s mom, Diane, exclaimed, “I don’t even know where to start! Seriously everything. The convenience is crazy!”
Because the family’s previous van was so difficult to get in and out of, it was hard to take Veronica on family outings. In that van, Veronica had to be loaded in and out of a side door, and she also spent the entire ride lying down, looking up at the ceiling.
“She is so excited to be sitting straight up,” Diane said. “As I drove the old van home, and Don (Veronica's dad) drove the new van, I could see Veronica grinning away in the back seat.” Veronica can also now take her power chair with her in the van – something she was unable to do before. This further increases her mobility both in the community and at home because she can practice maneuvering the power chair in larger spaces such as the park.
Diane also talked about how safe the van is, and how she loves that she knows she can rely on it. This is important, as they use the van to transport Veronica everywhere, including the hospital, when needed. With the new van, Veronica can load and unload quickly, which can make a world of difference in an emergency visit. Before, Diane had to call an ambulance to just to make sure Veronica got to the ER in time.
Additionally, Diane likes that she can now use a “regular” parking spot when taking Veronica places. Because she can load through the back, they no longer need to make sure they have enough room to the side for the lift. “It’s very liberating,” said Diane. “And, I can let somebody else park there because I don’t need it.”
The van is used for fun outings, too. A few days after receiving the vehicle, Veronica and her family attended the Billy Joel concert, where she sang her heart out to “Piano Man.” Now, the family is already planning more exciting places to go and things to do, and Veronica can get there easily.
“We can just do everything,” exclaimed Diane. “You guys are the best. I just have no words – I still can’t believe it!” Baggins wagged his tail in agreement.