The Conrad Family

2022 Accessible Van Recipient - Learn how a donor helped Drake and his family find a much needed accessible van. See full story below.

  • Year: 2022

  • Who: Drake Conrad

  • Need: Customized vehicle to increase independence

  • Gift: Safe and reliable wheelchair-accessible van from an anonymous donor

  • Program: Accessible Van Giveaway

MDFF was the recipient of an amazing donation – an accessible vehicle. This was something new for us as an organization. We usually buy a couple of vans a year to give to Hoosier families living with muscular dystrophy who are in need of accessible vehicles. This time, someone gave us a van so that we could pass it along to a family.

The donor, who remains anonymous, wanted to donate their accessible vehicle that they no longer needed. They were able to get ahold of Superior Van & Mobility. MDFF has a long relationship working with Superior Van & Mobility. They called us and mentioned this unusual situation. If possible, the donor wanted the van to go to a family in the Fort Wayne area. As it happened, one of our final van giveaway applicants lives in Fort Wayne. The timing was perfect!

MDFF paid for Superior to do some minor updates on the van, and then the van was given to the family, finding a new home where it could continue to be a blessing. Read their story below from Drake's Dad, Scott:

 

What was the moment like when you found out that you were getting a van?

We were all sitting around our dining room table listening to the phone call (from the MDFF folks). We were really hoping that this was the call that meant that we would be getting a van. “Like that’s why they told us to gather our family around. They wouldn’t tell us that to say we’ve been dropped this year again, would they?” We were really straining to hear everything that was said, it was a bad connection on the phone. We really needed a win at this point. Mom had been off work for about a month. The only income we had was Drake’s disability which isn’t much and the little that I get paid for being his primary caregiver, which is only like five hours a week. Everyone was jumping around singing “We got a van!"  

 

What does having the van mean to you and your family?

It means Drake has the ability to attend his ABA clinic and therapies, as many of them as we can arrange. He has the ability to go to the store, to the library for books, to the mall to people watch or to shop and eat at the food court. The van also allows us to go see a drive-in-movie. It gives Drake and our family a greater ability to go again, safely, and with out the worry of whether we will make it! It means another form of freedom, that others take for granted (We did too, once upon a time).

 

What is a fun trip that you have done in your van? 

We went out to eat dinner at a Japanese Hibachi restaurant to celebrate a friend's birthday. We are planning to go bowling (one of Drake’s favorite things to do).

 

What are some of Drake’s hobbies/interests?

Bowling, people watching, being read to, listening to music, visiting Grandma, going to the zoo, feeding animals, and going to eat at McDonald’s are some of his favorite things to do. 

 

What would you tell other families who are looking for hope and help?

Prayer, faith, family, friends, and support workers (such as social workers, case workers, therapists, doctors, and nurses) are the basis of hope and help. When you use these to support and strengthen you, you can and will find through them what you need. You need to be able to be strong enough to ask for the help. That is why these resources are there, for you to use them, when you need them. So reach out to those around you.

 

Anything you would like to say to the anonymous donor?

Thank You! It does not seem enough to say given this gift to us. I am not sure I can put into words the flood of my emotions. I hope that at some time I will be able to pass along the act of kindness and generosity you have shown us. So again, I say thank you, and God bless! 

Accessible Van Giveaway Program

The Muscular Dystrophy Family Foundation regularly awards wheelchair-accessible vans to families needing reliable transportation.

Learn About the Van Giveaway Program

2020 Accessible Van Giveaway Winners