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Donations for Darden

South Boston News
Keoriah Darden / July 06, 2017

When she was six months old, Keoriah Darden was in an automobile crash in Pennsylvania that paralyzed her from the waist down. She was hospitalized for three months and eve since she has been in a wheelchair. Now, she’s asking for the community’s help in getting transportation with a Gofundme fund-raiser page.

“I am in need of a handicapped accessible van in order to get around, go places and do things with family and friends and feel like any other child ….,” she said.

After the crash, she went to live with her great-grandmother, Janet Anderson, and her grandfather, James Darden, in Clover. Anderson had moved here to take care of Keoriah’s uncle, who passed away in 2009.

But great-grandmother Anderson, whom Keoriah describes as “they only mother figure I had,” died last summer. This past spring, grandfather Darden also passed away.

“[T]hey were everything to me and did any and everything they could for me,” she said.

In 2015, Keoriah’s wheelchair van, equipped with a hydraulic lift, was caught up in an accident. The van was taken to a shop and repaired, but it was soon taken off the road again. Now Keoriah uses the family’s current van to travel — but it comes without a lift or other accommodations. She relies on her cousin and brother to lift her and her wheelchair into the van.

For a teenage girl who enjoys going out with friends, tie-dying clothing, shopping and going to Applebee’s, this lack of easy transportation is frustrating. Getting to school is possible with the handicap bus coming to her door every morning. Medicaid covers Lake Country Area Agency on Aging transportation for medical care when the need arises, but most everything else is up to the family. Her Optima health insurance plan does not include transportation for her type of disability. She has been unable to locate suitable grants or other programs.

“If she wants to go out, go shopping, she has no way,” said Keoriah’s aunt, Janet Mason of Clover.

The handicap-accessible van made loading easy, and it let those without leg function drive. With that vehicle gone and Keoriah now of driving age, she hopes to get a similar vehicle and get her driver’s license.

However, “[t]he lifts alone cost a whole lot,” she said.

But the replacement vehicle will also depend on the donations received and “what we find,” said Mason. The Gofundme goal is $5,000.

She’s an amateur clothing designer and loves her music.

“Music has been my everything ever since I was a little girl,” she said.

Keoriah, 17, will be a senior at Halifax County High School this fall. She enjoys her classes, particularly English, and seeing her friends at school.

However, there have been incidents with bullying — comments in the hallways and classrooms, but also worse incidents with a fake Facebook page in Keoriah’s name: “I don’t know why they say what they do,” she said.

Keoriah plans to attend college after she graduates.

“I just want to be successful and make the best angels in the world proud,” she said.

For more information, go to Keoriah’s Gofundme page:

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