Carlee’s Car: A Special Gift

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HEPBURN TOWNSHIP -- It is the first week a 10-year-old girl in Lycoming County is able to ride home from school in her car.

Carlee Weber was headed home from school near Williamsport, and thanks to a generous gift from her church community, she had a new ride.

Carlee has spinal muscular atrophy and uses a wheelchair to get around. So her church family from Fairlawn Community Church raised more than $54,000 to buy "Carlee's Car."

The van has an automatic ramp and lots of space for the 10-year-old and her family.

"The ceiling's a lot higher. If I were able to straighten my arms all the way up, I still could not reach the ceiling," said Weber.

Carlee's mom, Nicole, said the old van the family used to take her to doctor's appointments more than three hours away was too short and Carlee's head kept hitting the overhead light.

"We were grateful for what we had, this has been such a blessing she has something comfortable and safe to be in," said Nicole Lucas.

Church members spent eight weeks raising money for Carlee's Car and said they were just short of the goal until Sunday services. That's when they decided all the money donated would go towards the specialized van for Carlee.

Carlee and her mom were surprised Sunday at the church service with the new van.

A family member captured the moment and uploaded the video to YouTube.

All along, Carlee thought the church was raising money for someone else.

"I was thinking this family must really need something. I donated my allowance, not much but enough to help, then realized it was going to me," said Weber.

And someday, Carlee hopes she'll be able to drive her van. After all, the van can be modified for someone in a wheelchair.