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A Van of Her Own

Chelsea sitting in her wheelchair next to her dark blue accessible van. Her dog is sitting next to her.

“I thought it would be near impossible in this lifetime to have a van like this,” Chelsea says of her wheelchair accessible 2017 Chrysler Pacifica. “I never thought I could afford it on my own, being on a fixed income.” Now that she has the van, Chelsea says, “I just want to sit in it all day.” Within days of bringing it home, she already had plans for road trips.

For years, Chelsea relied on a van that had been in the family since 1992. Although the van had a lift, it was too short, so Chelsea had to recline uncomfortably every time she got in or out of the vehicle. The van itself was not very reliable, either. For trips around town, Chelsea often used a door-to-door bus service that only sometimes got her where she needed to be; the bus often got lost and would not pick her up.

Chelsea enjoys longer road trips and did not trust the old van, so she started renting accessible vans from United Access. She remembers thinking to herself, “it would be such a dream to have something like this, to be able to go off whenever I please and to safely get wherever I want to go.” United Access referred her to Northwest Access Fund.

Chelsea says that her new van is “life-changing” and that she’s looking forward to what’s to come with it, from long journeys on the road to trips around town, on her own time.

Chelsea sitting in her van.