'Wheels for Jake' fundraiser aims to get teen who uses wheelchair a safer ride


"'You know, mom, I always thought it was your driving, but it's actually the van that makes me nervous.'"

That's what Lisa McLeod remembers her son Jake Morgan saying about the family's van they use to transport Jake and his 300-pound motorized wheelchair, Forum News Service says.

The 16-year-old from Detroit Lakes didn't realize how bad the van actually was until they rented a newer one on a recent trip, Forum News says, and now the family is hoping to get a newer vehicle so he feels safe.

Jake suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a genetic disorder that results in the progressive loss of muscle function and weakness, typically starting in the lower limbs.

As Jake has gotten older, he has outgrown the specially equipped van, and the van is becoming unreliable. This has his family nervous about taking him on longer car trips, including to his medical appointments and family get-togethers, a GoFundMe Page says.

A newer specially equipped van, including a heavy-duty lift, comes at a cost of roughly $40,000, the GoFundMe Page notes. That's why Jake's family and friends have set up a fundraising page to help them pay for the newer van.

The GoFundMe Page has raised $6,590 of its $40,000 goal.

The family is also planning an all-day "Wheels for Jake" fundraiser at People's Park in Detroit Lakes June 20, KX News reported. They'll be auctioning off items autographed by actor and North Dakota-native Josh Duhamel and his wife, singer Fergie.

Jakes grandfather, Stan Stelter, is a longtime friend of Duhamel's father, who has a home in the Detroit Lakes area, Forum News Service notes.

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