The Manitowoc family raises money for a disabled van for their daughter with serious health problems

MANITOWOC, Wis. (WBAY) – The Manitowoc community is rallying behind a teenage girl and her family, as she continues to face serious life-long health issues.

Thirteen-year-old Gracie Clark is full of love and smiles. She loves listening to music, especially Elvis, and most importantly, she loves to ride a car.

“If you told her the night before ‘we’ll say goodbye’, she would wake up at 5am and be ready to go, goodbye. She won’t let you forget it. She loves to move,” says her mother, Ashley Brown.

However, Gracie has faced many health challenges since she was born, making it extremely difficult to go on the adventures she loves so much.

“Gracie has the most beautiful soul. She doesn’t feel hate, she doesn’t judge. She loves everyone she meets and her laughter is contagious. Brown said.

Almost every year it seems like her daughter is diagnosed with a new illness, a new challenge, Brown said.

“When she was born, two months later I noticed that she wasn’t following anything with her eyes. She was diagnosed with visual dysplasia. As a result, she was completely blind in both eyes. She was diagnosed with cerebral palsy on the left side of her body so she couldn’t walk. She is wheelchair dependent, dependent on her mother. She had gastroparesis and had to have a permanent feeding tube placed. She has Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. She has severe epilepsy that is difficult to treat. She is taking some sort of sedative. She also suffered from chronic respiratory failure. She has some ongoing heart problems. We are still working on the issues we just learned. It was the most recent thing she had to go through,” Brown explained.

Brown says they desperately need a paratransit van to get Gracie to and from appointments in Madison and Milwaukee.

“What we do is load her up, my partner and I will pick her up and put her in our truck that we have now. Then we had to put her wheelchair in the back, which was very heavy. Gracie is 5 feet tall, weighs 140 pounds, and her wheelchair is 84 pounds. If she had a lot of dates in different places, I would constantly take her out and bring her in, take her out and bring her in,” Brown said.

Close friends have started a GoFundMe page to help families work towards their fundraising goals.

People can also help Gracie by reaching out to Get Gracie on the road! benefit this Saturday from 2pm – 10pm at Wildcats Longbranch Saloon, 4008 Village Drive, Whitelaw.

“I stay at home with Gracie full time, and my partner works full time, even overtime. Brown said. “A wheelchair will give us a freedom where she can take on more adventures.”

Community members can find more information about Saturday’s fundraiser on Facebook event page. If you want to donate to your family’s GoFundMe, click here.

13 year old Gracie has serious health problems

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