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Oklahoma City family mobilizes to win specialized van

An Oklahoma City family is working to win a specialized van that is one of three being given away during National Mobility Awareness Month.
by Matt Patterson Modified: April 2, 2013 at 7:10 pm •  Published: April 3, 2013

Sitting in her Dora the Explorer-themed room, Macie Greene is in her element.

The 9-year-old has Rett syndrome, which is in the autism spectrum of developmental disorders. But it doesn't prevent her from smiling.

“Dora is her comfort zone,” Macie's mother said. “It just clicked with her.”

The daughter of Mike and Brenda Greene was born with the neurological disease that affects girls almost exclusively. Macie can't talk and can't feed herself. She has scoliosis, kidney stones, digestive problems and at times severe anxiety.

The family had no idea Macie had the disease until she was about a year old and wasn't doing many of the things other kids her age were doing. A blood test ultimately confirmed the disorder.

As Macie has grown, the day-to-day reality has become more challenging. She weighs 60 pounds and must be lifted in and out of her chair.

“She completely relies on us to get her from Point A to B,” Mike Greene said. “Getting her out of her wheelchair and into a car seat to go to her appointments or for us to go out as a family is getting more and more difficult as she grows.”

Brenda Greene reached a low point a few months ago as she attempted to load Macie and her wheelchair into their car during a rainstorm.

“I'm by myself when I take her to appointments a lot of the time, so there are no extra arms to hold an umbrella,” she said. “She gets wet, and then her cloth seat gets wet. I looked back and saw her glasses were covered with raindrops and she couldn't see. It was just very frustrating.”

That's when the family started looking around for a van to accommodate Macie's wheelchair. The specialized vans cost more than $50,000, an amount that would be difficult to afford on Mike's salary as a police officer and the other jobs he works to help make ends meet.

“It's important to me and to our family that Brenda stays home with Macie because she requires so much daily care,” Mike Greene said. “I do what I have to do to make sure we have what we need. But at the same time, buying a van like that would be difficult.”

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by Matt Patterson
Matt Patterson has been with The Oklahoman since 2006. Prior to joining the news staff in 2010, Patterson worked in The Oklahoman's sports department for five years. He previously worked at The Lawton Constitution and The Edmond Sun....
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How to help

To vote for Macie Greene in the van giveaway, go to The contest concludes May 10.


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