By Christopher Smith
Zoe Gilley, 6, spends most of her time confined to a gated, padded area in her home, said her mother Sheli Gilley.
That’s because Zoe was born with a rare mitochondrial disease that affects microscopic cells within her DNA and limits her mobility and developmental growth. That’s in addition to having Lennox–Gastaut syndrome, a disease that can trigger daily seizures.
“Both of those diseases make it difficult for Zoe to go out of the house with her family,” Sheli Gilley said.
Gilley wants to revolutionize her daughter’s life with a van designed for individuals with limited mobility, the grand prize in the international Mobility Awareness Month contest. Hundreds of individuals in the United States and Canada submitted their photo and a summary of their personal limitations this month to be voted the “most deserving” for the custom van, according to the contest website (www.mobilityawarenessmonth.com).
Gilley said she wants to spread the word about her daughter to the community to get as many online votes before the May 10 deadline.
“We desperately need this van,” Gilley said. “God willing, we will be able to get it . The Lord will provide in another way if we don’t win, but having something like this would enable Zoe to be part of our life more. We, the family, could take her on vacation or go somewhere for the weekend.
“Right now, we have to leave her. With the medicine schedules and feeding pumps, it becomes too difficult to take her along so we usually leave her with a grandparent. Having a van would offer us the ability to offer Zoe more of a chance to participate.”
To vote for Zoe, go to the contest website and click “vote now” in the upper right corner of the screen and search “Zoe Gilley” in the search bar.