MIDLAND PARK, N.J. — Five weeks ago, the right wheel fell off the motorized wheelchair of 15-year-old Taylor Deyoung, sparking a crisis or two.
For starters, the repair cost $2,000 – an impossible sum for his single mom, who found a place to fix it on a payment plan.
Taylor, a Midland Park High School student, has cerebral palsy. He depends on his refurbished Jazzy 600ES wheelchair for his independence.
He was delighted when it was donated to him and devastated last year when the two motors needed to be replaced at a cost of $2,650 .
Recently, his mom Melissa shelled out $400 for two new batteries for the chair after the previous ones died.
Life was just getting back to normal when the wheel fell off — literally.
“I got upset the night the chair broke,” Taylor said, stopping there. He doesn’t like to talk about the depression or despair he experiences when his chair doesn’t work.
The manual wheelchair just isn’t the same.
“His muscles are limited so it’s not like you’re putting an able-bodied person into one of these manual chairs,” said Justin Skawinski, 35, of Fair Lawn, Deyoung’s aide.
“It takes a lot, even for him in the house, to get around,” he added. “Transfers are really hard in the manual chair. He has to do a tilt for me so I can get him fully dressed. I had him almost on the couch. We were MacGyvering it.”
With the motorized chair, Deyoung feels comfortable enough to go places outside. He drives himself down the block to visit his buddy, for instance.
With the manual chair, he’s homebound.
Even more befell the family this summer.
A month ago, Deyoung’s 2006 Dodge Grand Caravan van, also donated to the family, was hit by another vehicle. It’s now unusable. Problem is, the van was outfitted to accommodate the wheelchair. Deyoung uses it to get Taylor around.
The price tag for repairs to the van were another $2,000. Through the good graces of Midland Park Auto Body, Deyoung said she was able to have the work done just for the cost of the parts.
Overall, Deyoung just can’t afford the $4,000 needed to be fully mobile with her son.
So the family, grateful for all the support it has received from the community, has started a new GoFundMe campaign. Click here to donate.