Family needs help to get son new van - WNEM TV 5

Family needs help to get son new van

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MARLETTE, MI (WNEM) - Dick Sullivan remembers the day thirty years ago when a lightning strike changed his son John's life forever.

"The damage was a small spot in the right rear hemisphere when they did the brain mapping," said Sullivan. "It happens to be right where it controls the fine motor movements of the extremities, and that's why you still have all the stuff."

And because of the traumatic injury, John needs constant care, and a specially equipped van to get him from point a to point b.

"It's a '93 Ford," explained Sullivan.

But as of right now he said the van may be on its last leg.

"The air conditioning lines are rusted off," said Sullivan. "It's had new brake lines put on because they rusted off. The air conditioner hasn't worked for 1.5 years. I've put three heating coils in it in the last year and now it works very little."

Now through a online contest, John could get a new set of wheels. They went down this road last year, but now need your help at home to get over the hump.

"We're in the contest for the van, but we didn't know about it, so this year we knew about it ahead of time so we're ahead of the game as far as total votes," said Sullivan. "And they take the top percentage of the votes and look at them on an individual basis."

And even though mobility is something we take for granted, it means the world to John and his family.

"The hardest part now is not being able to go someplace," said Sullivan. "We used to be we were gone all the time, if I was here alone, and even to go to town, we'd put him in the van and we'd go."

Now the website you can vote on is, and the family said because of the state of their van, it's important you vote soon, and often.

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