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A Love for the Road: Community raises enough money to buy a new handicap accessible van for a child in Cape Coral

Evie Harper
Posted at 6:22 PM, Dec 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-15 22:18:33-05

CAPE CORAL, Fla.  — For seven-year-old Evie Harper, riding in the car with her parents is her favorite place to be.

Fox 4 first spoke with Evie's father Jason Harper in September when the Go Fund Me account was created by family friend Tristan Starbird and his work family at Trademark Roofing.

On Monday the account has raised more than $75,000 for the handicap-accessible van for the Harper family.

“When we accomplished it in a little over five weeks I was very pumped up,” said Starbird.

In September, the Harpers told Fox 4 their traditional van could not transport Evie safely because of her Phelan Mcdermid Syndrome.

A disorder that keeps her from being able to talk or move on her own.

On Monday, Jason Harper said the road is wide open.

"For us, it’s like I can’t believe we can get out of the house this quickly. We can get out and to an appointment this fast,” said Harper.

Jason said he will always remember the first time he took Evie for a drive in her new van.

“Honestly, i wanted to be a really safe driver but it was really hard not to just keep looking at the mirror and checking her back there because she’s having a really good time,“ said Harper.

Now after sharing Evie's story, it has also given Trademark Roofing the green light to help more families right here in southwest Florida.

“We have started the paperwork for Evie Adapts a 501c3 that we are looking to launch in 2022,” said Starbird.

“I mean we are excited to say, we did this, and we can’t be more thankful, now let’s do it for some other people,” said Harper.

Starbird says the non-profit will aim to help other families who are also experiencing accessibility and transportation issues.

For the Harpers, it’s a chance to give back to the community that already gave them so much.

“Maybe a widened door or a ramp to the door may be a handicap accessible shower, a bed, whatever it is some of those small projects that you wouldn’t normally think about because it’s not happening to you and this family is in this situation where they don't know where to turn," said Starbird.

I think people think there is no way, I don't have enough time I don't have enough money we don't know enough people to make this happen and we would like to be able to say.. well ya, you do," said Harper.