Quadriplegic is desperate need of a new wheelchair accessible van in Michigan

By Matthew Witkos

FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) -- A Mid-Michigan man is facing incredible odds since being shot in the neck.

Flint native Eric Thomas is facing a new challenge.

Thomas’s wheelchair accessible van he currently uses is typically in the shop.

He needs this to get to his public speaking events, and to his business.

It's become too difficult to rely on the van when he needs it the most.

"We were like we are on our way there, and we went over the expressway, and it started overheating again,” Thomas said.

His friends and families put together a fundraiser for him Sunday.

Thanks to his more than a decade old van, Thomas was late to his party.

"Sometimes it breaks down, and sometimes it can be something small or major, So, I couldn't even count the numbers. You just never know,” Thomas told ABC 12.

Two decades ago, Thomas was hit during a drive-by shooting near Lansing.

Since then he's used a wheelchair and by using his breath to get around.

As well this old van, and with so much wear and tear, won't last much longer.

“Handicap accessible vans are really hard on the vehicle itself and it just wears out fast and the vans don't last that long,” Thomas mother, Monica Taylor, said.

Now his family and friends are stepping up to get him a new one that can help him get around without worrying about it breaking down.

"Well, cost of the van is $65,000. So, it's very expensive,” Taylor said.

Each time he has to take his current ride into the mechanics, it takes away from his savings towards a newer one.

"It also takes my mobility away and my independence,” Thomas said.

If you didn't make it out Sunday, you could still help. You can make checks out to the United Way of Genesee County. In the memo section write “WE DRIVE TO INSPIRE.” Mail it to P.O. Box 949 Flint, MI 48501.

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