Community helps 6-year-old get new wheelchair

Local News

LUBBOCK, Texas — A 6-year-old with cerebral palsy got a new power wheelchair with help from community members.

Olivia Anders is a 6-year-old who was born seven weeks premature and later developed cerebral palsy. Anders said being able to see her child in her brand-new chair was an emotional moment.

“We are really grateful and overwhelmed with how wonderful it’s been to be part of the Smith family this school year, and it’s been really overwhelming,” said Chelsea.

Chelsea said Olivia would be able to move in the chair on her own through a special head device.

Olivia’s father said the head feature would allow his daughter to explore new independence she did not have before.

“I think what every parent is for them to see their child grow, and rather than trying to tell her who it is, she’s going to be,” said Jason. “She has that opportunity now to have a whole new means of expression. she can tell us more so who she wants to be.”

A team of realtors in Lubbock formed a group called Team Lulu, along with contributions from businesses and community members who helped raise funds for the project.

Linda Gaither, a Lulu member, said she and other members recognized Olivia greatly needed the wheelchair.

“We are the ones who I think are getting the most blessings out of this,” said Gaither. “Although, the joy on Olivia’s face today, when she was driving around in that wheelchair, made me [cry].”

Gaither said they initially thought the chair would cost $12,000 but ultimately wound up costing $41,000.

The family said they still needed a van to help transport the chair to their home. To donate and find out more about Olivia’s journey, click here.

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