Turners family road-ready at last: Donations allow Norwoods to buy wheelchair-ready van

Recorder Staff
Last modified: 2/22/2016 1:42:13 PM
TURNERS FALLS — A disabled boy’s life and the lives of his family are now a little bit better thanks to hundreds of donations toward a wheelchair-accessible van.

The used 2015 Dodge Caravan was delivered to the Norwood family’s home after months of fundraising through the organization HelpHOPELive, a nonprofit that helps individuals pay for medical expenses. In nearly eight months, the family was able to raise more than $40,000.

Now Jacob Norwood, who typically needs at least two people to care for him at any give time, can more easily go to the grocery store, to the park and to the doctor.

He suffers from a rare genetic mutation of the FoxG1 gene that impacts brain function. Getting from place to place is an ongoing challenge for the family.

“It’s the small things that people don’t realize,” said the boy’s mother, Heather Norwood. “He is going to be able to have fun and we are going to be able to be a family.”

The condition left the 11-year-old functioning at a 12- to 18-month-old level. He also suffers from seizures and must use a feeding tube, but his mom says he is the happiest kid anyone will ever meet.

Our Lady of Peace Church and The Second Street Baking Co. in Montague put on fundraisers to help raise money for the van.

Droves of individuals, including local firefighters and police, came out in support and donated money through a Facebook campaign.

“The outpouring and support from the community has just been humbling,” said Norwood. She works part-time and spends most of her free time taking care of her son. In 2012, she established the International FoxG1 Foundation, a nonprofit to help families cope with unexpected life changes due to a FoxG1 gene mutation diagnosis and to support research.

“I still shake my head in disbelief about what we have been able to accomplish and the support that we have,” said Norwood.

You can reach Lisa Spear at: 
lspear@recorder.com 
or 413-772-0261, ext. 280




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