Brothers with muscular dystrophy in need of new van - WFSB 3 Connecticut

On Your Side

Brothers with muscular dystrophy in need of new van


A family from Branford and their two sons living with muscular dystrophy are in desperate need of help.

The handicapped boys use a van to get around to all the doctor appointments is on its last leg, and now the community is coming to their aid.

The van has nearly 338,000 miles on it.

"We try to go places and we're always afraid what people are going to say if they look at it," Ryan McCarthy said. "There's a lot of problems with it."

Ryan, 15, and his big brother Robbie both have muscular dystrophy, so the van, which is actually an old ambulance, is their lifeline.

And it's on life support.

"If I don't have this thing running, which quite often it's not, I can't get them anywhere," Bob McCarthy said.

The wear-and-tear is showing. The heating and air conditioning is shot. The hydraulic lift the brothers use to get into the van leaks.

Bob McCarthy, the boys' father, said it broke down once before leaving them stranded.

Replacing the van won't be cheap. A new one is out of the question and the van needs to be big enough to handle wheelchairs and oxygen tanks. They've looked online for older models and found one in Ohio that would cost them about $6,000.

But Bob McCarthy lost his job six years ago, so money is tight.

"I knew he was struggling with this van," Branford High School senior Eden Wooster said. "He's talked about it before."

Wooster met the McCarthys a year ago through the Best Buddy Program. It pairs students like herself with others who have a disability.

She said that when she heard the family was trying to get a new van, she decided to organize a fundraiser.

There's going to be food, a band and a DJ with all of the donations going right to the family.

"They're really incredible people," Wooster said. "They're someone who deserves the help."

Wooster set up a Facebook page for the fundraiser called Two Brothers Wheels. As for the event itself, it's going to be held Sept. 28 at the Elks Lodge in Branford.

For information on how you can help the family out, click here.

Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.