A Smithtown auto body shop recently received a donated van that they fixed up and gave to a local family in need.
The van, which was donated to Bi-County Auto, located on E. Main Street, had low mileage and a wheelchair lift, but still needed some work.
The auto shop decided to fix it up and give it to a family who needed an adaptive van for their 11-year-old daughter, Brianna Sheltra.
Brianna was diagnosed with Dandy Walker Syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects brain function.
She has a feeding tube and a shunt in her brain. She is non-verbal, but responds to her parents and sisters.
The Sheltra’s or their nurse have always had to lift Brianna from her wheelchair and into a special needs car seat in their car.
As an infant, this was not a problem. However, now that Brianna has reached the height and weight of a typical 11-year-old, it has become increasingly difficult and has caused both her mother and nurses to experience severe back pain and related issues.
The family is part of Angela’s House, a Long Island-based non-profit that assists medically fragile children by coordinating the home care services needed to support these children living at home.
The auto shop donated all of the labor and new parts to repair the van, including covering the cost of new tires.
"The family was overcome with joy; they immediately tried the wheelchair lift and put Brianna inside," Bob Policastro, executive director and founder of Angela’s House said. "A tremendous weight was lifted off of their shoulders. This was a beautiful gesture to a family who had only dreamed that they would someday have a vehicle to accommodate the extreme disability issues that Brianna has."
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