A warm, sunny 77-degree afternoon at Hillview Motors in Greensburg, Pa., had one family smiling from ear to ear as they picked up their brand new 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT.
Of course, it’s not uncommon for someone to leave a dealership smiling after they drive away in a new car, but this was no ordinary afternoon for the Daniels family, thanks to their mom Kym.
Kym Daniels entered in the National Mobility Awareness Month’s “Local Heroes” contest and won in the caregiver category.
Kym’s 11-year-old daughter Kaitlyn was diagnosed with neuroblastoma at the age of 9 months. The cancer grew into her spine, and the surgery to remove it made her unable to walk. In 2013, Kaitlyn started Kidz That Kare, a community program that provides local families with clothes, toiletries, toys and groceries.
“Although cancer has taken away so much from her childhood, Kaitlyn continues to give back to her friends, family and community,” Kym wrote in her contest entry. “She has endured more than most adults and has done so with a smile on her face and a ‘not gonna stop me attitude.’”
On Tuesday, FCA US LLC, the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA), Hillview Motors, ElDorado Mobility and Total Mobility Services presented a new wheelchair-accessible 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT to Kym, Kaitlyn and the Daniels family.
“We had a great time hosting the event and this vehicle couldn’t have gone to a nicer, more-deserving family,” said Paul Schimizzi, owner and president of Hillview Motors. “My staff and I actually came together the next morning and decided to add a 7-year/100,000-mile Chrysler Maximum Care Service Contract to their new Grand Caravan, free of charge.”
The van includes an electronic access ramp and an anchoring system that enables a wheelchair to be anchored while allowing the passenger to operate the wheelchair’s controls to swivel and face forward.
“Winning one of these vans would open up so many opportunities for Kaitlyn, and she would be able to expand her horizons and finally be able to experience so many of the things that other children and families take for granted, a trip to the mall, going for ice cream, a spontaneous trip to the park or a visit to grandma,” Kym added in her entry.
The Daniels family is one of four national winners of the “Local Heroes” contest that National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association created to award four individuals with new wheelchair-accessible vehicles and provide them with a forum to share their stories of triumph overcoming their disabilities and how their customized vehicles will further empower them in their active lifestyles.
This year’s “Local Heroes” contest finished with 914 Local Hero online entries, which received 1.3 million votes. Winners were announced in June.