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Manitowoc community raising money for wheelchair-accessible van

Gracie Go Fund Me
Posted at 8:49 PM, Sep 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-20 14:17:18-04

MANITOWOC, Wis. (NBC 26) — Gracie Clark, a 13-year-old girl from Manitowoc, enjoys doing everything a teenager normally does.

"She loves going to the beach," her mother, Ashley Brown, said. "She hasn't been to the beach in a while. She loves going shopping. She can stay in the store for hours."

But going to those places isn't easy as Gracie's been dealt a tough hand.

"[She has] septo-optic dysplasia," Brown said. "She was born blind. She has severe epilepsy. She has cerebral palsy on her left side. She doesn't walk. She's wheelchair-dependent and mama dependent. She has gastroparesis, a feeding tube, a permanent feeding tube."

So her family is raising money for a handicap and wheelchair-accessible vehicle. The goal is to bring in $30,000.

"She doesn't have a lot of head control, upper trunk support," Brown said. "So it would be safer for her to be in her wheelchair traveling to appointments."

"She should be able to go everywhere like every other kid can," fundraiser organizer Karey Roberts said. "There's no reason she can't go ten places a day."

A GoFundMe has secured $5,000 so far.

"She loves Elvis," Brown said. "She loves Michael Jackson, Eddie Murphy."

And Gracie got to hear her favorite artist in Elvis at a fundraiser this past Saturday at the Wildcat Saloon.

"A lot of the businesses in town, I didn't even ask... even the businesses were showing up dropping baskets off at our doors," Roberts said.

She says that event brought in $14,000.

"We've got more work to do," Roberts said. "It's not done yet. We're not at our goal yet."

When the goal is met, Gracie's mom wants to get the community together to watch the young girl roll off in her new wheels.

"It wouldn't just be for medical appointments," Brown said. "It would be for adventures. We want to create as many good memories with Gracie as possible. I just want her to live her best life."

To donate to Gracie's cause visit this link to the GoFundMe page.

Rusty’s Corner in Manitowoc is also holding a fundraiser throughout the entirety of October.

"I’m very thankful for everybody who helped out and showed up and donated and sang and hosted the benefit," Brown said. "Everybody just came together and it was beautiful."