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More than Just a Power Chair

Orange shirt farm background smile

Young Man Receives Scholarship from Michigan AgrAbility; Confidence and Independence Grows

 Evan in orange shirt, power chair in use

Like any 12-year-old boy, Evan loves playing video games (Minecraft especially), the Dallas Cowboys, and Lebron James. Lindsey, Evan’s mother, said her son has a great sense of humor and loves to make people smile. Evan says that his favorite way to make people smile is by walking.

“Evan loves to make us proud,” Lindsey said. “He knows that when we smile, we are proud of him.”

When Evan was born pre-maturely and later diagnosed with cerebral palsy, his family knew that challenges would arise.

Evan and his family live and breathe farming. With Evan’s movement and developmental challenges, it made it difficult for Evan to get around to help his family on their farm which raises field corn, pumpkins, and bedding plants. On top of this, he lacked the independence he so desperately wanted at his age.

When Evan and his family were shopping for a Track Chair, the vendor referred them to Michigan AgrAbility to assist with the expenses that insurance wouldn’t cover. Ned Stoller, Ag Engineer and Assistive Technology Professional at AgrAbility, completed a farm evaluation with Evan that resulted in a power-chair recommendation.

“An all-terrain power chair was recommended for Evan to better accommodate his needs at this time in his life,” Stoller said. “It provides better maneuverability and is able to carry Evan through most of the farm – at a lower cost.”

Prior to his new power chair, made possible with the help of a scholarship from Michigan AgrAbility, Evan would use a walker or chair at school to help him navigate longer distances.

 farm background, orange shirt

“AgrAbility works to help any farm family members, not only the partners or individuals making a living on the farm, because the entire family has a life on the farm,” Beverly Berens, AgrAbility case manager, said.

Lindsey said that her sons new power chair allows him to have the independence he desperately wanted.

“This power chair is so important to Evan and us!” Lindsey said. “He’s able to bring it school for activities like field day and it allows him to feel more like his peers.”

In the future, Evan will be able to work on the farm with his father as his powerchair allows him to get around easier through more rugged terrain.

“I want to be a YouTube steamer for my side job,” Evan said. “But my real job will be a businessman and working with my dad.”

Evan’s family is extremely grateful for Michigan AgrAbility and Easterseals MORC because these organizations have helped them see ways in which their son can be independent.

“It’s so important for our son Evan to know is just as capable as his peers,” Lindsey said. “He sometimes needs tools, like his chair to help him. We love programs like Easterseals MORC and AgrAbility. They make it their mission to help individuals with disabilities to be independent and be alongside those without disabilities.”

To learn more about Michigan AgrAbility, please visit: https://www.michiganagrability.org/

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