Atlanta-based AMS Vans teamed up with the Aimee Copeland Foundation and Friends of Disabled Adults and Children (FODAC) to present the keys for a wheelchair-accessible minivan to the winner of an essay contest.

The winner, Kendra Allen, is an Athens Tech college student whose essay detailed the challenges of growing up with cerebral palsy and her dream to help others with disabilities.

Allen’s prize is a 2012 Honda Odyssey wheelchair-accessible minivan with $7,500 worth of reconditioning donated by AMS Vans, which will also provide free oil changes and tire rotation for as long as she owns the vehicle.

“I am so thankful for everyone who helped me get this minivan because it means I will finally be able to use my power wheelchair outside my home, making it so much easier to get to class at Athens Tech, see friends, and eventually start my own business,” Allen says in a media release.

“AMS Vans is thrilled to help Kendra become more independent, and we are inspired by her dedication to finish school and fulfill her dreams to create her own company to help others,” states Mark Shaughnessy, CEO of AMS Vans.

The minivan was donated by Aimee Copeland, a competitive swimmer and counselor who lost her hands, right foot, and left leg from a flesh-eating bacterial infection in 2012. After receiving the vehicle as gift, she found new independence, started the Aimee Copeland foundation, and became the official spokesperson for FODAC, the release continues.

“This van changed my life and gave me freedom of mobility, and now I am paying it forward so that Kendra may have a better quality of life,” Copeland shares. “We could not have done this without AMS Vans and FODAC, and I am grateful for their support.”

“As an advocate for those with disabilities, we see first-hand how reliable transportation can change a person’s life by connecting them more readily to work and the community, and we are excited to see Kendra succeed,” Chris Brand, president and CEO of FODAC, comments.

Allen’s essay was selected from 60 entries submitted to the contest that ran from January 7, 2019 to February 7, 2019. Her essay has been posted in full on the Aimee Copeland Foundation Blog.

[Source: Aimee Copeland Foundation, AMS Vans, FODAC)