A fundraiser is underway for the family of Isaiah Evans to purchase a $100,000 custom medical van, which will accommodate the seven-year-old's wheelchair and other equipment for maintaining his physical needs, including oxygen 24 hours a day.
"The Evans family lives on a farm, and the Weyburn Care-A-Van does not come out because they're in the R.M., so we are working together to fundraise for a van for the family to use," shared Shannon Seitz, fundraising organizer and Isaiah's Educational Assistant at Legacy Park Elementary School.
Seitz said the grants that would be available for funding such a purchase are more for organizations rather than individuals.
"So getting the money together for this van is going to take a lot of community support and a lot of events happening within the community to bring people together."
She said many different fundraisers are underway, but they have also set up a GoFundMe, as well as a trust account at the Weyburn Credit Union.
"This van has been designed by the Occupational Therapist at Wascana, and Ford and Prairie Mobile have come together. So this van will be designed specifically for the needs of Isaiah and his family," she explained.
The van will have a rear-loading ramp, and a bench available for when they travel long distances to medical appointments.
"He can lay down and be comfortable in the van as well, and this van will be a van that he can use for his lifetime. It is everything he needs as far as extra heating in the back, extra air conditioning, making sure that the dust can't get in into the van, all those little things are very important to make sure he's comfortable always being transported."
"It's custom designed for his needs, and the family will also be able to pull over and do suctioning on the side of the road. It's going to have the extra height so that they can walk to the back and help if he does need any kind of suctioning or any kind of attention while they're on the road, the family will be safe to pull over and everything will be set up in the van for them."
Seitz said they'll keep posting about fundraisers happening in our community in support of this cause on the Facebook group, "Isaiah Evans Journey".
"We're really looking for any community groups or businesses that want to get involved in any way," she invited. "If someone isn't able to come to event or participate, even just sharing the fundraising efforts you're making, and so that everyone in the community is aware that we're all pulling together for this."
Upcoming events will include a day at Great Plains Ford, and a fundraising night at Leicester's Family Restaurant, with the details yet to be determined.
"The Ritchie Brothers out of Saskatoon haveset up an online auction which closes on the 4th and items were donated and all proceeds were going to Isaiah's trust fund," Seitz noted. "They took the lead on it. They just reached out and said we'd like to help out. So that's what the Ritchie brothers have started doing. Then we have a few other businesses that are looking into starting up a few events. People are donating casual Friday funds, and bottle drives, and we have several events planned over the summer to bring people together and try and raise money to get this van on the road."
At the time of this publication, the GoFundMe has raised around $15,000, with a halfway goal of $50,000 by the end of June.
"So just coming out to a fundraiser and bringing your family out to them and bringing everyone together for these events is what we really need."
Donations can be made to the Isaiah Evans Trust at the Weyburn Credit Union, or by e-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org
Find more information about Isaiah's journey on the GoFundMe page HERE.