A Wish Come True
Through the generosity of one local family, Oksana Parmenter celebrated her birthday with smiles and cheers as she was presented with a brand new sports wheelchair from Alternatives in Motion.
Oksana, who attends Sand Lake Elementary school and was adopted from Lithuania, was born with Spina Bifida and is paralyzed from the waist down. She has adjusted quickly to life in America and says she loves sports and eating thin crust pizza. “When she was living in Lithuania she was told that she would never be able to play sports because of her handicap.” said Oksana’s mother Jan.
Jan and her husband Bill taught their daughter how to throw and catch a ball and they introduced Oksana to the Jr. Pacers, a local wheelchair basketball team, where she was able to borrow a chair to learn the game. With other medical costs, the family couldn’t afford to buy Oksana the specialized sports chair she needed. Through a co-worker Jan posted a wish in the Grand Rapids Press Wish List in hopes that someone would help buy the chair for their daughter. That someone was local businessman Philip Streng and his family.
“ Each year we look at the wish list as a family and decide on what causes we want to help, when we saw the wheelchair request we knew we could make a difference,” Streng said.
As a long time supporter of Alternatives in Motion, Streng knew the organization could help grant this wish. Alternatives in Motion worked with Carelinc Home Medical to get the wheelchair sized and fit for Oksana and surprised her at school on her 10th birthday.
“Without the generous support from the Streng family it would have been very difficult to grant this wish,” said Alternatives in Motion’s Founder Johnnie Tuitel. “I am honored to have the Streng family as part of the Alternatives in Motion team. Today they chose to make a wonderful difference in a little girl’s world,” Tuitel said