CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Sitting inside a van outside her Chesterfield home, six-year-old Carter Castlebury’s life is changing.
“It just means everything,” says Josh Castlebury, Carter’s dad. “It’s so selfless, and it’s more than generous to donate a van like this.”
Carter has been paralyzed from the neck down since age two. She uses her head to steer her powerchair, but her family’s SUV is not equipped to transport it. Carter has only been able to use the power chair at home, so it cut down on her ability to be independent.
On Friday, Carter’s mom and dad spoke with 8News about how they have been working to raise money to buy a van to open up the world for Carter. Two strangers in Dinwiddie heard about Carter’s need and wanted to help.
“When you support others going through things, it helps you get through yours a little bit better,” explains Megan Talley, who, along with her boyfriend Johnny Wicks, donated the van to Carter.
Talley and Wicks were in a motorcycle accident in April. Both ended up in wheelchairs and used the van during the early days of their recovery. By now, Megan has had 36 surgeries, and Johnny has had 23 surgeries. For them, life is moving forward, so they wanted to pay it forward too.
“It feels amazing,” Megan says about donating the van they no longer need. “Just to see her smile and know that she can get to school safely and have something reliable. It’s very nice.”
Carter’s family hoped to have an accessible van in time for the rising first grader’s first day of school. Thanks to Talley and Wicks’ donation, Carter has even these last few days of summer to go anywhere she and her little sister Zoey want to go.
“When we’re looking for something to do now, we can just hop in the van and we can just go to the mall, we can go wherever we want to go and let her enjoy herself,” Josh describes how this gift will enhance Carter’s life.
Carter looks forward to making memories, and now the two families are a part of each other’s lives. They know the story does not end here.
“Definitely makes us want to give back to others as much as possible,” says Brittany Ogle, Carter’s mom.
There was no exact destination for Carter’s first journey in the new van. Josh says the family just planned to ride around together simply because they could.