MEMPHIS, Tenn. — When multiple sclerosis strips a young Memphis man of his mobility and access to the outside world, a stranger reaches out to WREG to help him regain his independence after hearing about his story on social media.
Our playmaker Lisa Madden saw her co-worker Gina Winding’s Facebook post about starting a GoFundMe for her nephew and she contacted WREG to pass it on to to the family. They are trying to purchase a wheelchair accessible van to transport him.
“I just wanted to help Brandon to make his life easier and quality of life easier,” Madden said. “I was just so thankful that someone thought enough of us just from a post. You never know who’s looking at your post, to write a letter to you all for assistance, so we’re just grateful.”
We gave Lisa $1,000 and headed over to the Shelby County Health Department where Gina’s sister Sharita Jackson works.
A manager convinced Jackson to step away from her desk for a walk break and we were waiting outside.
“I’m Gina’s co-worker and good friend and I recently over the last couple of weeks have been following the GoFundMe post that Gina posted about your son Brandon. I was like what can I do to help them reach their goal?'” Madden said.
She explained she brought WREG along to Pass It On.
Jackson told us Brandon grew up an athletic child but at 22, doctors diagnosed him with multiple sclerosis. He’s now 33 years old and it has taken away his ability to walk and even care for himself.
“He was a student at the University of Memphis, and just had a full life ahead of him that he was really trying to get started in and set goals, but life happened and all of that has changed for Brandon now,” Jackson said.
She explained what a wheelchair accessible van could mean for her son’s quality of life.
“I just want to be able to give him some type of light. I just want to be able to allow him to experience because he’s always at home,” she said. “And, with his van, he’ll be get out go on family trips with us be able to go to his appointments. We’ve had so many times he has an appointment in no one shows up to pick him up.”
A wheelchair accessible van can cost $15,000 to $20,000. Even with the Pass It On donation, they are a long way from meeting their GoFundMe goal.
“We’re just trusting God. He’s going to be blessed with this van. I don’t even care if if someone has a van and they’re not using, maybe they have a relative that may have gone on. We would love to buy it. I just need to have something for my son,” Jackson said.
This is a Pass It On that has touched three lives at one time: a co-worker, her sister, and the nephew who the playmaker has never met.
“You know, God always has a ram in the bush. That’s what I say about that. He always has a ram in the bush. I’m so grateful because you never know is who watching and I’m so grateful that she did,” Jackson said. “God sent her the connection. He made the connection, so I’m grateful for that.”
Brandon’s birthday is Friday, October 13 so the gift couldn’t have come at a better time. We hope his family will soon be able to take him on a belated birthday outing.
If you would like to help Brandon’s family meet their goal, click here to donate.