Indiana family gets 'lift' from stranger

INDIANAPOLIS - A complete stranger has started a fundraising campaign to help a 10-year-old Perry Township girl and her family.

Daisy Esterline was born with cerebral palsy. She is wheelchair-bound and her family is in need of an accessible van.

Esterline spends her days in a pink personalized wheelchair. Every time she wants to leave the house, her family has to deal with a secondhand van with a lift that does not always work.

The family said the van is old, it breaks down and the family has been forced to leave their daughter’s 250-pound wheelchair at school at times.

Esterline’s mom, Suzanne, knows that wheelchair-accessible vans are anything but cheap. Not only is there the cost of the actual van, but then it can cost another $10,000 to $20,000 to install a lift.

It’s a lot of money and there is not a ton of help out there for families in need. Even a state disabilities director told RTV6 that the state funding for accessible vans is fairly limited.

Fortunately for the Esterline family, Beth Gipson, a busy mother of four, is the driving force behind a fundraising campaign to get Daisy’s family a new van.

She held a skating party last month, started an online fund and is hosting a bowling party Saturday.

The most touching part -- Gipson barely knows the Esterlines. In fact, Gipson and Daisy met for the first time when RTV6 filmed the story.

"My son goes to school with her daughter, so that’s how I know them … and I feel like if there’s something I can do to get the community together to help, I’m going to try," Gipson said.

The bowling fundraiser will be held at the Beech Grove Bowl at 95 North Avenue from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Dozens of other Hoosiers are competing online to win an accessible van. Hear their stories and vote online to help them here --

Follow Anne Kelly on Twitter: @annekellyrtv6 | Facebook: AnneKellyRTV6

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