Months ago, Nebraska man was diagnosed with Acute Rapid Onset ALS, now his family was given accessible van

LINCOLN, Nebraska – Mobility is something that many of us are able to take for granted, and the loss of this ability for one Lincoln family has been a significant adjustment for them.

On Friday morning, a number of organizations from throughout the community got together to present them with a vehicle that can accommodate people with disabilities.

William Lewis, age 26, first realized that his body was growing weaker around six months ago. Three months ago, he was diagnosed with Acute Rapid Onset ALS, a disease that has left him confined to a wheelchair and requires more care.

“Once in a while a story happens that just touches our hearts,” said Phoebe Hampton with Chariots4Hopes.

The idea was put into motion when Anderson Ford made contact with Chariots4Hope, a charitable organization that provides wheelchair-accessible automobiles to low-income families and people. After listening to Lewis’s tale, the screening and interviewing process, which normally takes around six months, was hurried up so that he could get into a car more quickly.

“We’ve partnered with chariots for hope for a few years now and so it’s just kind of natural for me to connect them with them in hopes we could find a vehicle for this person,” said Mike Anderson with Anderson Ford.

The timing was just impeccable. Chariots 4 Hope was the recipient of a vehicle with low mileage that was donated by a separate charitable organization that also provides accessible vans to persons in need but which was unable to locate an appropriate recipient. That van ended up being the most suitable mode of transportation for Lewis.

Everyone involved is keeping their fingers crossed that he can regain the freedom he once had, so that he may travel and tend to the needs of his wife and two small children.

“Every blessing is different but they are all so impactful and a lot of times there’s just some raw emotion that is felt,” Hampton said.

The non-profit organization completely remodeled the van from the ground up, and on Friday, the Lewis family had the opportunity to become acquainted with the updated vehicle

“You just leave changed, after seeing that just how much somebody’s life can be impacted by a vehicle,” Hampton said.

On Friday morning, the family performed a trial run in the new van, and they discovered that there are some height changes that need to be made before they can take it home permanently.

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