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Florida community raises money to buy wheelchair-accessible van for child

Posted at 9:35 PM, Dec 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-17 12:44:34-05

CAPE CORAL, Fla. (WFTX) — Seven-year-old Evie Harper has touched the hearts of a lot of people in Florida.

They donated more than $75,000 so her family could buy a van that accommodates Evie's wheelchair.

“When we accomplished it in a little over five weeks I was very pumped up,” said Tristan Starbird, a family friend who started the fundraiser.

The Harpers said their traditional van could not transport Evie safely because of her Phelan-Mcdermid Syndrome.

It's a disorder that keeps her from being able to talk or move on her own.

However, the new van has made life a lot better for everyone.

"For us, it’s like I can’t believe we can get out of the house this quickly. We can get out and to an appointment this fast,” Evie's father, Jason Harper, said.

Harper said he will always remember the first time he took Evie for a drive in the new van.

“Honestly, I wanted to be a really safe driver but it was really hard not to just keep looking at the mirror and checking her back there because she’s having a really good time,“ said Harper.

Harper's employer, Trademark Roof, was instrumental in helping raise the money for the van.

The company is now moving forward with helping others in similar situations.

“We have started the paperwork for Evie Adapts a 501c3 that we are looking to launch in 2022,” said Starbird.

For the Harpers, it’s a chance to give back to the community that already gave them so much.

“I mean we are excited to say, we did this, and we can’t be more thankful, now let’s do it for some other people,” said Harper.

This story was originally reported by Colton Chavez on fox4now.com.