Aimee Copeland, along with AMS Vans and FODAC (Friends of Disabled Adults and Children), are proud to announce they have selected a winner in the Aimee Copeland Foundation essay contest for a wheelchair conversion minivan.
The winning essay came from Kendra Allen, a business technology major at Athens Tech, who detailed her challenges growing up with cerebral palsy and what she hopes to achieve with increased mobility using the minivan. For starters, Kendra will finally be able to use her power wheelchair at school and for social occasions, because her family’s sedan only fit her manual wheelchair.
She will be awarded Copeland’s 2012 Honda Odyssey minivan with an automatic ramp conversion and front row seats which are removable to accommodate wheelchairs. AMS Vans donated $7,500 worth of reconditioning and will provide Kendra with free oil changes and tire rotation for as long as she owns the vehicle.
“AMS Vans is thrilled to help present this reconditioned accessible minivan to Kendra to help her become more independent so she can fulfill her dreams,” said Mark Shaughnessy, CEO of AMS Vans. “We are inspired by her dedication to finish school and create a business that benefits others with disabilities, whether that is through counselling, transportation or clothing design.”
Copeland was also inspired to help others and offers free counseling for people with disabilities through the Aimee Copeland Foundation. She suffered an injury during a zip lining accident in 2012 which led to a flesh-eating bacterial infection that forced doctors to amputate her hands, right foot and left leg.
“This van changed my life and gave me freedom of mobility, and now I am paying it forward so that Kendra may have a better quality of life,” said Copeland. “We could not have done this without AMS Vans and FODAC and I am grateful for their support.” Copeland and judges with Atlanta based FODAC selected Kendra’s essay out of dozens of entries.
“As an advocate for those with disabilities since 1986, we see first-hand how reliable transportation can change a person’s life by connecting them more readily to work and the community,” said Chris Brand, president and CEO of FODAC. “We are excited to meet Kendra and see her use this van to reach all her goals.”
The contest ran from January 7, 2019 to February 7, 2019 and was open to people who use a power wheelchair who met eligibility requirements.