Single mother, two kids struggle with mobility, need your help in winning van

Posted at 7:24 AM, May 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-17 07:38:37-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Kristen Keys has many reasons she is asking for help in winning a handicap accessible van. She and her two boys are forced to ride the bus since losing their only mode of transportation last year. Worse, they all suffer from muscular dystrophy, and Keys tells FOX 17 that there have been times she couldn't get her kids to the doctor because she didn't have a car.

Muscular dystrophy is a genetic disorder that causes progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass, making it hard for them to move around.

Tommy (left) Michael (Middle) Kristen (Right)

"That’s really terrible when your child is hurt and I can’t get them help," she said, adding that she was divorced last summer and has no other family in town.

That's why she's asking for your help in winning a handicap accessible van.

"Sometimes I feel embarrassed," said Tommy, 13. "I have to lean on the table and literally get on top of it."

Whether it's standing up, sitting down or climbing stairs, the Keys say they're all difficult tasks.

Michael, 15, getting off the GO!Bus

With no transportation but the GO!Bus, it's hard for the family to get around

"The Air Zoo in Kalamazoo, I’ve wanted to go there, but we can’t," Tommy said.

To make matters even worse, Kristen says it's getting harder for her two sons to get up the stairs of the bus.

"Transferring buses is challenging," Keys said. "In the winter it’s not even an option, we do use GO!Bus, which is not flexible whatsoever. It’s a really hard way to live your life when you already have a disability and then you want to be out in the world and live and see people and be a part of the world it’s really hard to not come and go."

Keys wants more for her kids. She wants them to be able to go and do things like other families, she wants them to get involved with after-school activities and wants her sons to be able to go to the beach.

That's why she's hoping to win a handicap accessible van, equipped with smaller steps, a crane, or even a ramp.

Handicap accessible van from the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association

The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association will take the top 10 percent of participants with the most votes and will choose at least three winners.

"It’s exciting to dream that maybe we can leave the city of Grand Rapids again because we can only go where GO!Bus goes at this point," Kristin said.

Kristin currently works part time at home, but she is hoping to finish her college degree soon so she can get a full time job out of the house.

"That's another reason why we really need some transportation," she said. "I can’t imagine taking on all of that, having to use the bus and having a disability."

If you would like to help the Keys win a van, all you have to do is visit mobilityawarenessmonth.comfind Kristen Keys and click vote.