Freedom to Fully Enjoy Life

With lots of love to give, early in their marriage Gina and Dale Van Baren decided they wanted to adopt children with special needs to create their happy family—seven boys from four different homes, six with disabilities.

Two of their children—Ryan and Andrew—have Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a condition that affects their ability to walk long distances, climb stairs, run, and jump, and do other things kids love.

Not being able to get around like other kids can be frustrating for both brothers. It especially frustrated their pre-teen, Andrew, after a fall in 2017 made him more reliant on his power wheelchair.

The Van Baren’s new accessible mini-bus, awarded as part of the MDFF’s 2019 Accessible Van Giveaway program, helps the family face day-to-day challenges. Now they can do everything together- from going to school or heading to doctors' appointments with greater ease- helping the boys live their lives to the fullest.