Valley family needs your help to win wheelchair-accessible minivan

FRESNO, Calif.

Ten-year-old Adam Carbajal can sit and play with his grandmother, Maria, for a long time. Despite being severely disabled, he's quick to get around the house, even heading right for our camera. But what's not quick is getting him in and out of the family's minivan.

"So we have to be taking him in, taking him out, and we have to take his wheelchair apart to put it in the car," said Maria Alvarez-Garcia.

That, too, is a slow process. It takes a few minutes of disassembling the wheelchair and a lot of muscle work just to get the family on the road. Alvarez-Garcia used to be able to do it all herself when her grandson was smaller.

"Now, you know, I can't go anywhere with him, without my son because I can't lift him," said Alvarez-Garcia. "Even the wheelchair itself is pretty heavy, so we have to take it apart and I can't even do that. Sometimes I feel helpless, but we have to get used to it."

The family of nine is hoping that helplessness can be lifted -- if they can win the big prize from Mobility Solutions. The non-profit is hosting an online contest, with dozens of families from the U.S. and Canada competing to win the fully accessible vans.

Carbajal was left disabled after being shaken as a baby. Since the horrific crime in 2004, Alvarez-Garcia and her husband have cared for him full-time. They considered buying an accessible van before getting their current standard minivan, but they were just too pricey.

"I'm hoping and praying, but you know, if we don't win, I'm happy for who wins it," said Alvarez-Garcia.

The family is also up against several Valley families. You can see their stories and vote for any of them by visiting

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