Fernando Gallegos Keizer, OR 1,883 Votes
This is my son Fernando (Nando). At 2 weeks old he contracted meningitis/encephalitis and as you can imagine he was in and out of the hospital through out his childhood. At 6 months of age he was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy due to the complications of his illness. When I was told that he would never walk and would need to be in a wheelchair I was devastated, my hopes and dreams for my first child shattered. However, as he grew I was so excited to see him progress and turn into quite the social young man.
In spite of his challenges, Fernando has taken karate, participated in regular education classes, as well as school dances and many community activities with friends. Now at 20 he is currently working 2 jobs and is trying his best to be an independent adult. As you can see by his range in activities, transportation for him and his power wheelchair is a very important aspect. At this time he uses public transportation to get around, and in our town it is only available during the weekdays. In order for him to leave home in his power wheelchair it must be good weather or he has to use a manual wheelchair (that is a hand me down and is not a good fit for him) and rely on someone to push him. As you can imagine, this limits his independence and ability to leave the house on the weekends and evenings.
I would love to see him win the van so he can explore many new possibilities and have the freedom and ability to use his power wheelchair to get around all of the time.