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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

Activities this week will raise money for 'Wheels for Wheeler'

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Kristin Wheeler and her mother, Courtney Cooksey, share some cotton candy while talking with Kristin's personal assistant Sue Stevenson, student council sponsor Leslee McDonald and fund raiser coordinator Diane Lancaster about fundraising events to purchase Kristin's family a wheelchair accessible van.

The North Clay Middle School student has to leave her power wheelchair at school because it won't fit in her mother's automobile.

"She is one of the most delightful students we've ever had at North Clay Middle School. We all love her, and her spirit, so much," Diane Lancaster said of eighth-grader Kristen Wheeler. "Even with an impairment, she's involved in everything."

Born 12 weeks early with a weight of only 2 pounds, 8 ounces, Kristin Wheeler suffered brain bleeds, causing Cerebral Palsy and confining her to a wheelchair.

"I have a power wheelchair, but have to leave it at school since it won't fit inside my mom's car," Kristin Wheeler said.

The 13-year-old is an active member in choir, drama and girl scouts and dreams of becoming an author one day. "I love school, especially writing stories."

Each morning, Courtney Cooksey transports her daughter into school and helps her into the wheelchair so that she can get around school during the day. The family is unable to take the wheelchair home so that Kristin can enjoy other activities.

With the honor roll student preparing for high school next year, the students and staff of North Clay Middle School wanted to do something special for Kristin. "Wheels for Wheeler," a fundraising event to raise money for the purchase a wheelchair accessible van, was created.

"We're both really excited and grateful that the school wants to help us this way," Cooksey said.

The week of May 16-20 will be an entire week of special events dedicated for raising funds for Wheels for Wheeler.

"I can't believe that my school buddies are chipping in to help me like this," Kristen said of the school's effort to help her become more active at school and in her community. "I don't know how to explain how I feel. I'm just really, really grateful."

Any community groups or organizations that would like to help with the fundraising effort are welcomed by the event organizers.

"We think it's important as a school, and a community, to help make this family's life easier as Kristen goes forward into high school and the world," Lancaster said. "Kristen's mother has never denied her anything, and we just want to help make it easier for her to let Kristen be all that she can."

With plans to attend Indiana State University after high school to major in Creative Writing, Kristin said she is excited at the thought of being able to go new places in her wheelchair.

"I can't wait," she said. "I'm just so excited!"

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