A Mishawka family is raising money for a new van for their wheelchair bound son

Nicolas Szalay's story begins when, at the age of sixteen months, he was involved in a drowning accident that left him with a traumatic brain injury, rendering him to a wheelchair.

He now uses a feeding tube, takes several medications, and has had a homecare nurse take care of him for the past fifteen years.

Despite the difficult circumstances, Nicholas's grandfather, Bela Szalay, says this has made the family closer than ever.

“Nicolas is one of the biggest fighters this family has ever met. He's had COVID, several times he had the flu, in and out of the hospital, he is a fighter. And he is the call for the Szalay family,” Bela Szalay said.

Now, the family has started a GoFundMe page to raise money for a new van that will be better suited for wheelchair accessibility for Nicholas.

“It was hard because we never got to do anything together as a family like get in the car and go somewhere. It's something small but us all being together is awesome,” Michelle Szalay said.

The family makes frequent trips to the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis to see numerous specialists and doctors.

Michelle says the remaining donations will be used for gas money for Indianapolis and daily necessities Nicholas needs. She is hopeful and grateful for any help her family receives.

“Just being able to get the van and just wheel him right into it, it sounds crazy to say but it’s just that little thing would make our lives so much easier. And just everything, it costs a lot a lot for everything that he needs, and it would just mean a lot to us to help out,” Michelle Szalay said.

And on top of the GoFundMe page, Bela is cooking up quite the order to raise money for Nicholas as he will be hosting a fundraiser buffet at the Knights of Columbus in South Bend on Washington Street.

“This is going to be a great time for people to come out and enjoy and have a nice dinner. We have a lot of family members involved and helping out and cooking,” Bela Szalay said.

The buffet today will include Hungarian goulash, chicken alfredo, spaghetti and more. There are also vegetarian options as well. Lunch will cost $12 and be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST. The dinner will then cost $14 and be served later in the evening, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. EST.

“We’re definitely inviting the whole Michiana community out. It's been a weeklong with some tragedies in the Michiana community, but we’re not taking away from that. We just want to show people we’re doing a fundraiser and we’re celebrating with food. Food is love and we love Nicholas very much. That's one of the reasons we’re doing a fundraiser with a buffet.”

If you would like to donate to this cause, here is the GoFundMe Page.

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