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Neighbors help Southeast Portland family raise money for wheelchair van

6-year-old Elliana has cerebral palsy, epilepsy and requires a feeding tube. She uses a wheelchair to get around and is growing out of her adaptive car seat.

PORTLAND, Ore. — A community in Southeast Portland is coming together to help a family in their neighborhood living with special needs, doing everything from collecting cans to setting up a silent auction.

Victoria Stottlemyer would do anything for her 6-year-old daughter, Elliana.

"Everything that she needs is a fight through insurance, through medical providers," said Stottlemyer. "You're constantly having to prove how disabled she is to get what she needs to live her everyday life."

The 6-year-old has cerebral palsy, epilepsy and requires a feeding tube. She uses a wheelchair to get around. But as Elliana grows out of her adaptive car seat over the next few months, Stottlemyer says that a wheelchair van is a must.

A wheelchair van can cost anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000. Stottlemyer said that insurance won't cover that cost, so a few months ago the family started fundraising efforts for a van by collecting bottles and cans from their neighbors and cashing those in. So far they've been able to raise about $900.

Credit: KGW
Victoria Stottlemyer hopes to get a wheelchair van for her daughter Elliana. She is a 6-year-old with cerebral palsy, epilepsy and a feeding tube

Neighbor Lacye Fulmer saw the family's fundraising efforts and wanted to help. She organized a silent auction to help them raise money. Many businesses and community members donated tons of items to the cause, including gift baskets, massage services and much more.

Fulmer said the event itself will also feature a face painter, kids craft table, and a visit from the Portland Llamas.

"It's all going to raise money for the best cause. I really just want to see them win, I want to see them with brand new van — not a used one, a brand new van," said Fulmer.

Stottlemyer was overwhelmed by the support, becoming emotional as she reflected on the kindness she's received.

"It's just like ... a lot times being a special needs parent, it feels really lonely and you feel like you don't have people — and this has shown us how much people are there," she said.

The silent auction is scheduled for Saturday, July 16, at the Portland Moose Lodge on Southeast 52nd Avenue. The family also has a GoFundMe page set up to help with the cost of the wheelchair van.

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