On Christmas morning, the Figueroa family started their minivan to warm it up before heading out to visit family. They went inside to get a few gifts and their two boys, both of whom use wheelchairs. When they came outside again, their wheelchair accessible van was gone.
The Figueroa’s stolen van was originally donated by the Penfield Children’s Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Both of their sons, 7-year-old David and 4-year-old Raylan, visit the center for treatment. Imelda and Jose Figueroa only had their Toyota Sienna for a few months before it was stolen. The van was found just days later about six miles away from their home where the thieves set it on fire.
Following the theft, David and Raylan’s aunt set up a GoFundMe account to help raise money for a new accessible vehicle. Several local news stations covered the Figueroa’s story. After hearing the boy’s wheelchairs and medical equipment were inside the stolen vehicle, community members donated replacements. While they were raising funds, MobilityWorks helped transport the boys to their doctor’s appointments.
In less than a month, the community came together and raised enough money to purchase them a new accessible vehicle. Imelda and Jose worked with MobilityWorks General Manager Mike Harty to find the right vehicle that comfortably fit both boys in their wheelchairs. When Imelda and Jose picked up their Dodge Grand Caravan, Mike and his employees had the car stocked with several bags of Cheetos, which are the boy’s favorite snack. Mike was so happy to see the smiles on all of their faces after dealing with such a sad Christmas day.