From Fox 10 Phoenix: Arizona boy, his mom are raising money for a wheelchair accessible van

May 15, 2024

Fox 10 Phoenix, a television news station in Phoenix, Arizona, shared the story of the Hembree Family on May 13, 2024. The Hembree Family are participants in Jett Foundation’s 2024 Accessible Vehicle Fund Branch of the Jett Giving Fund. Fox 10 Phoenix shared text and video coverage to raise awareness for their accessible van fundraising campaign.

When accepted into the Accessible Vehicle Fund branch of the Jett Giving Fund, families aim to raise half the funds needed or more for their equipment. Once families reach their goal, Jett Foundation steps in to purchase the item they need and coordinate delivery.

Read the full article below and view video coverage here.

Originally published by Fox 10 Phoenix.

A Valley fifth grader is fighting a tough battle.

First, he had trouble walking. Now, he’s a person who uses a wheelchair.

He and his mom are raising money to make his life more accessible. 

For now, it’s challenging, and potentially dangerous, every time Cole tries to get in and out of the car.

“He will say he is OK, and I can see his legs shaking. That’s one thing that really moves me, is he has a strong will to keep moving,” said Crysta Hough, Cole’s mom.

Crysta says three years ago, her son’s leg had a pain. They learned he had Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

“It’s a genetic disorder that attacks his muscles, legs and lower extremities,” she said.

They got him a powered wheelchair. It stretches his core and his legs, but getting it in and out is hard.

Something that brings Cole joy is going to school.

“It’s fun to learn about new things,” Cole said.

But, going to school becomes harder every day.

“We are coping with our day-to-day lives as much as we can,” his mom said.

This year, they were picked by the Jett Foundation to raise funds for a wheelchair accessible van.

They’re expensive.

If Cole raises half the money, the foundation picks up the rest and gifts the van. 

So far, they’ve raised $12,000. They need $32,000.

“It would be a blessing. It would be the biggest thing, the biggest accomplishment for him,” Crysta said.

“It’s really not a want for these families,” Alexa Tinsley with Jett Foundation said. “It’s an absolute need.”

It can be life changing.

“Access medical care, access doctor appointments, and then also, you know, do things as a family and get children and adults out of the house as well,” Tinsley said.

Coal has goals he wants to achieve, and a van would make them possible.

“I want to help him achieve his goals, but like I said, with public transportation, that’s not always the case,” Crysta said.

The young boy says it would change everything if they had a van.

“I would be able to do after-school stuff and before-school stuff easier. All of that would make it so much easier,” he said.

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Your gift helps Jett Foundation provide programming and opportunities, such as Camp Promise, to many families impacted by Duchenne muscular dystrophy each year.

Accessible Vehicle Fund Applications Open