Fresno widow asking for help buying handicapped accessible van

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A local widow is looking for help. She's a quadriplegic and needs to get a handicapped accessible van. (KFSN)

A Fresno widow is looking for help. She's a quadriplegic and needs to get a handicapped accessible van.

Lynne Mayhew can get around decently in her motorized wheelchair. But sometimes she can't leave the house alone, if she can't use the chair's controls. Getting an accessible van, though, means she'll be able to take her caregiver as she ventures out. It will provide an independence she hasn't had since her husband passed away.

A series of health problems, including damaged nerves and a severe head injury, is what has Mayhew in a wheelchair today. But she's never let that slow her down, accomplishing a lot. One thing she never thought would happen, though, was getting married.

"He was my... not only my husband, my caregiver fulltime, my arms, my legs, my transportation," she said. "He did everything."

But tragedy struck last year for Mayhew. Her husband of 13 years, Isaac, died in his sleep the day after her birthday. Isaac and Lynne met while they attended Fresno Pacific University in 2000. They married a year later.

"He said toward the end of school, I want to marry you before you die," Mayhew said. "And now he passes away before I do. And I'm like 'that wasn't supposed to happen.'"

Isaac, whose remains are still with Mayhew, was her fulltime caregiver, lifting her into and out of their car everywhere they went. It's something her current caregivers just can't do.

Mayhew's injuries severely limit her mobility. She can get herself around in her wheelchair, on good days.

"I'm terrible in cold weather," she said. "I'm terrible in hot weather. Some days my hands aren't working, if I could have a caregiver always with me that would be great."

A van would give her that option. Her family started a account to help get her that van. Without it she says she's missing out on a lot of outings. Especially with her church since her friends don't have cars with enough space for her chair.

"I feel left out," she said. Mayhew is hoping that will change, with a little help.

Mayhew says it's too dangerous for her caregivers to lift her out of her chair and into a car right now. But with a van retrofitted with a ramp for her wheelchair she'd be able to have someone drive her around and help her on errands. account

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