By Ukee Washington
NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — When Joey Cintron was 16, he was at a party when the cops showed up.
“We panicked, and several of us decided to leave by going through the window, and that was the biggest mistake of my life,” Joey said.
Joey shattered two vertebrae in his neck, leaving most of his body paralyzed. He can only move his neck and part of his shoulder.
Now, Joey is 47. His mom, Juanita, has been his main caretaker.
Veronica Clarke, Joey’s cousin, said, “His mom is a miracle worker. She has given up so much for him.”
But going any farther than the sidewalk outside his home means Joey has to be lifted from his wheelchair to a car, something that’s increasingly hard for his mom and relatives to do.
“She’s older. I’m older, a lot heavier,” said Joey.
So Joey and his friends had an idea. He’s a whiz on the computer; he can move a special joystick with his lower lip. He and friends started an online fundraiser to raise at least $30,000 to buy a used wheelchair-accessible van.
Catherine Weldon, Joey’s aunt, explained, “The van takes us where we want to go, and he’s still in the wheelchair. We don’t have to do all that lifting. He’ll be able to go to many more places.”
Joey wasn’t sure how it would go, but he’s overwhelmed with online donations and help from local businesses. He’s already over $20,000 in just a few months.
The biggest fundraiser is yet to come October 20, a beef and beer and raffle at Savior Hall in Norristown. His Facebook page shows all the baskets donated for auction, so that Joey and his family can enjoy the gift of freedom.
“It’s overwhelming,” Joey said.
That beef and beer is at 6 p.m. on Saturday, October 20th at Savior Hall in Norristown. Tickets are $25 dollars.