RICHMOND, Ind. (Feb. 23, 2015)-- An Indiana teenager with a disability is closer to getting a mobility van thanks to the kindness of strangers including a very special boy.
Ben Brawley, 14, is a social bug who loves to go bowling and see his friends. Getting around, however, is difficult because he was born with a rare condition.
"He had a stroke before he was born so he has hydrocephalus," explained Ben's mother Pam.
That means she and her husband will often carry him. And when it comes to traveling outside of their Richmond home, Ben is strapped into a car seat in their van.
“He’s getting heavier especially for mom to pick up and put in the van," explained Pam. "That’s a chore ‘cause then we break down the wheelchair and put it in the back after we put him in a car seat that’s made for older children, but he’s just about outgrown that also.”
A mobility van would change their lives.
"It would make it just easier to get him out and about in the community," Pam said.
On Monday, Ben got fitted for a new mobility van, but it's not his yet. A new van costs around$60,000. The family needs about half of that to make a down payment and get it home.
"It's quite expensive compared to what your standard van would be so it's really important for the family to have those funds," explained Dawn Dodson with Superior Van & Mobility.
So far, the Brawleys have raised about $11,000. Some of that comes from a young man with a passion for helping others.
When 9-year-old Johnathan Terhaar heard about Ben, he got to work. He started selling birthday cards and chicken eggs from his farm. He even bought Pacers tickets to raffle off.
"Because there are people out there in more need than things that we just want," he answered.
In just about a month, he raised more than $1,500 for Ben and is still working to raise more. He told CBS4, he couldn't wait for the day Ben rolls his wheelchair onto his new mobility van.
"He's just gonna lead a new and happy life, because he's going to have a chance to be like a normal person and not have to have somebody helping him everywhere."
The Brawleys can't believe the overwhelming kindness from their family, friends, and neighbors. But they are mostly humbled by the strangers who have given them more hope than money could buy.
"It just touches my heart that somebody that young looked at Ben and didn't even know him and wanted to help," said Pam.
The family hopes to have the new mobility van home by Ben's birthday on March 28. If you'd like to help, you can make a donation here.