RIVER JOHN – A River John man in need of a new van had his wish granted Tuesday.
Eric Heighton and his wife Maxine received some good news this week when they realized their fundraising goal had been reached for a new wheelchair accessible van. File photo
Eric Heighton and his wife Maxine received word this week that they have been granted after the River John couple received word they would be the recipients of a $10,000 donation from the Canadian military.
This money, along with an intense four-month fundraising campaign, has given the River John couple the amount they need to purchase a $56,000 accessible van that will accommodate Heighton’s wheelchair.
“Thanks very much to all my family, friends and community for their support,” said Eric Tuesday.
The Heightons started fundraising for the van in June when they entered a Mobility Awareness Month contest. Heighton became a semi-finalist, but was unable to claim the top prize.
However, this didn’t stop their family and friends from rallying behind them by hosting numerous fundraisers to raise the money needed to purchase the van so Eric can travel to some of his favourite places more easily.
“I will be able to drive my wheelchair right into his van,” he said. “I am looking forward to it.”
Eric retired from the Canadian Navy in April 2002 at the age of 44 after spending 23 years in the military. On Jan. 1, 2004, he was sleepwalking and fell down his basement stairs, breaking his neck in three places. He is now paralyzed from the neck down and requires care around the clock.
Eric said in the past that an accessible wheelchair van would not only help him get to doctor and dentist appointments, but would also make it easier for him to visit his grandchildren and take in their school concerts.