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Nonprofit donates beach wheelchair to Grand Haven State Park

Posted at 4:25 PM, May 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-31 10:26:41-04

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — A West Michigan nonprofit has donated a beach wheelchair to Grand Haven State Park in honor of a young boy who passed away.

Andrea Hirkaway is a mother of three, who lost her son Liam in February from complications surrounding cerebral palsy.

"My kids have never been able to take a walk with me on the beach ever, so this is a game changer for them, I mean, to have your first walk or stroll down the beach is a huge deal," Andrea said.

With the help of Lori's Voice and Freedom Trax International, Grand Haven State Park is now home to the area's first tracks wheelchair for people in need to explore the lakeshore.

"His family tells us he loved going to the beach, and this donation will allow other people who are wheelchair bound a chance to also dip their toes in the water," said Lori Hastings, founder of Lori's Voice.

Andrea said two months before Liam passed away they spent time on the beach in Florida but there was no wheelchair available for them to use on the water.

"The chair in itself is dedicated to my son that passed away in February. His favorite place was the beach, and I can't think of a more fitting thing to dedicate to him, then maybe a host that would be able to spray everyone. But definitely, the beaches was [sic] his favorite thing," Andrea said.

"The Freedom Tracks is unique accessibility device; we have two versions; the one we have here at the beach is the FT2, which has a chair attached to it; the FT1 one has the capability: roll a manual wheelchair, right back up onto it and attaches it to it and you go away,” explained Chris Wright, owner of Freedom Track International.

"There's a lot of elderly people that may come in for a grandchild wedding; they can't get down to the beach; we can shuttle them down there. And this chair gives the opportunity for everybody to dip their toes in the water," Lori said. "I think it means the world to his family because they love the beach and they can come here and they can see that Liam liked it and it's just gonna be a nice reminder."

The chair is free for people to use while at Grand Haven State Park. To donate to Lori's Voice, click here.

READ MORE: 'It will always be warm for her': Lori's Voice finds new van for family with special needs

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