Conway

Donations help Conway woman acquire van

Sharon Black driving her new van.
Sharon Black driving her new van. Photo submitted

You could hardly see Sharon Black’s face this past weekend because her smile was so big it almost covered it. “I’m on cloud nine,” she said.

She dared to dream of getting a new mobility van and had faith. Her old van had served her well for years, but it was failing part by part, and the lift was so weak that she had to continue using an old wheelchair with a new one at home, a little heavier but much more comfortable for the three-foot-tall, 58-year-old.

Black, of Conway, entered a contest for a new mobility van, but did not win. On July 20, she stepped out on faith and opened a gofundme page, and then a bank account for donations some people were asking to make. I wrote about her here, local television featured her, and people responded.

Black has many admirable qualities and patience is one ” I have to have patience in life,” she said, adding that when she stops for gas, she has to wait until an employee can go out and pump it.

Born with brittle bone disease, she underwent numerous painful surgeries and lived in body casts – once for over four moths – between the ages of six and 12. “I thought I was going to lose my mind,” she said.

Black was raised by her grandparents and her grandmother taught her to pray and have faith. “I wouldn’t be the woman I am today if it wasn’t for my grandmother.” she said.

The generosity of people made Black’s dream come true. She got a 2015 Honda Odyssey van especially equipped for her on Friday. She calls it her “silver fox.” It has a ramp that she can drive her new wheelchair up. and many features that will make driving easier for her, including a backing camera and a beeper that goes off if she starts to change lanes with a vehicle too close. And it has good brakes. “When I hit the brakes, I hit the brakes. I said ‘oh Lord, what did I get myself into?” she said.

Finding the right van was a challenge, she said. She looked at many, but when she looks, she sees things that most people don’t think about, such as a dashboard that is not too high for her to see over.

Black has a sister in Washington with muscular dystrophy and she also uses a wheelchair. “It’s harder for her because she has walked; I have never walked,” said Black, who hopes to someday write a book to help others.

Now that she has a dependable van, Black looks forward to picking her sister up at the airport one day soon and being able to drive them wherever they want to go.

The new van has allowed Black to keep the independence she struggled so hard to gain. She’s been working at Frank Rivertown Stadium theatres in Conway for nine years, and worked at Carmike Theater at Myrtle Beach Mall for two years before that.

She said she could never thank everybody who helped enough. She and I decided not to mention any donors here since there is not space for all the individuals, businesses, organizations or others who donated. Many, including a very large donor, preferred to remain anonymous, even to us.

To all of you, and you know who you are, Black thanks you, and so do I. I have never witnessed anything more beautiful than the goodness of people.

Peggy Mishoe, pegmish@sccoast.net, 365-3885.

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