A Merrill woman is in the running to win one of three custom wheelchair accessible vehicles in an online national contest.
Amber Schmidt of Merrill has Muscular Dystrophy and says she relies on her 1991 Chevy Astro van to get around. Schmidt says she is in desperate need of a new vehicle and has entered a contest presented by National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association, or NMEDA.
NMEDA is a non-profit trade association of mobility equipment manufacturers, dealers, driver rehabilitation specialists, and other professionals dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities and assisting with driving independence using wheelchair accessible vehicles.
The contest runs in conjunction to National Mobility Awareness Month, which is May, to raise awareness and show that there are mobility solutions available for people with disabilities.
Amber's entry reads:
My name is Amber, and I want to nominate myself as a local hero. I don’t think having Muscular Dystrophy makes me a hero, but I am constantly told what an inspiration and encouragement I am because of my positive attitude and accomplishments. I have accomplished many things despite being confined to a chair most of my life, but there are so many more things I want to accomplish. I am in dire need of a new van, and if I had one I could do so much more. I currently own a 1991 Chevy Astro van, but it is on it’s last limb. It still gets me from point A to point B, but it is falling apart and probably is not the safest to drive. The electric lift has a piece that fell off and is getting rusty like much of the van. Recently, my break lines needed fixing, and they literally crumbled because everything under my van is rusting. Other problems include the steering column not working properly, and the wheelchair restrains aren’t staying secure anymore. I’m in need of this van because it is my only means of transportation. I am currently working on my Bachelors degree, and have to travel 25-30 minutes one way to get to school. My schooling is very important to me because I want to be able to get my Masters degree in Social Work so I can help others. Another important aspect of my life is my faith. I’m working on becoming stronger in my faith by going to weekly Bible studies, and eventually Sunday services and field ministry. I also love to volunteer, travel, go shopping, go to the movies, and just be able to get out in the community. I don’t like things just handed to me, but my options are getting slimmer. I’ve gone down many avenues to get assistance through different agencies with absolutely no luck. If I get chosen to get this van I would be beyond grateful and it would give me a higher quality of life.
As of noon on Tuesday, Amber had 1,710 votes. Voting ends May 10. Winners will be announced on May 31st.
Click here to vote for Amber.
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