During the football team sendoff at Stony Point High School on Nov. 11, Stony Point student Jasiel Favors was welcomed by fellow students and the community to receive a crowdfunded donation to pay for his wheelchair-accessible van.
Favors, who was paralyzed from the neck down after a helmet-to-helmet collision during a 2015 junior varsity football game, now attends school at Stony Point for half the day while completing physical rehabilitation. The rehab regimen is challenging but promising. His mother, Debra Favors, is hopeful Jasiel should be able to walk within a few years.
The lack of a vehicle equipped for wheelchair access, however, has forced the Favors family to physically lift Jasiel out of his wheelchair and into the car each time they travel to his medical appointments and to school, which puts him at risk for injury.
Jasiel’s friends, Noah and Chloe Strain, were instrumental in establishing a Go Fund Me campaign to help cover the cost of a special van to safely accommodate Jasiel’s wheelchair. While the campaign successfully reached its initial $15,000 goal, the Favors family struggled to find a working van at that price point that could meet Jasiel’s needs, given the specialized vehicle modifications needed to secure and restrain his wheelchair.
As of October 2016, 202 donors had contributed a generous $24,000 toward the cost of the van. Unfortunately, the price of the van Jasiel needed was twice that, and financing for the remainder was not assured.
The news of Jasiel’s journey to recovery and of the Favors family’s struggles to secure an accessible minivan for his care caught the attention of several employees at Wheeler, a locally-based construction company and building materials supplier owned and operated by Oldcastle Materials.
Inspired by Jasiel’s determination and the dedication of his friends, family, and the local community, Wheeler spread the news of the Go Fund Me campaign and its purpose throughout the company and advocated for others to contribute to the effort. Wheeler worked with the Favors family and offered to cover the remaining $29,000 owed on Jasiel’s van, along with the needed modifications to accommodate his wheelchair. The company worked closely with MobilityWorks, the provider of the vehicle.
Wheeler President Brandon Smith said Jasiel’s story resonated greatly within the company, especially because many employees have high school aged children.
“It’s amazing to see how the local community has come together to support him,” Smith said. “It was really important to us that we come together as a group and do what we could to make sure that Jasiel and his family have a safe, reliable form of transportation.”