News Article Details

Hazle Twp. family seeks help acquiring wheelchair-accessible van

Times Leader - 3/19/2019

March 19-- Mar. 19--HAZLE TWP. -- Christofer Corra likes to go places. To the movies. To concerts. To restaurants. He just likes to go.

But Christofer isn't going anywhere these days.

Born with cerebral palsy, Christofer and his wheelchair no longer fit into the family minivan.

Jack Corra, who, along with his wife Linda have raised Christofer since birth, is diligently working with agencies and corporations to get a wheelchair-accessible van. He even started a GoFund Me campaign in an attempt to raise money.

"I used to be able to lift him out of his chair and into the van," Jack said of his grandson. "But he's gotten so big, I can't lift him anymore."

Christofer was born prematurely in Hershey Medical Center to Jack's son and his girlfriend at the time. When his biological parents decided to put Christofer up for adoption, Jack and Linda stepped in.

Christofer was transferred from Hershey to St. Joe's in Scranton but had to remain there for about two months until he reached a certain weight. Then, Jack and Linda took him home to live with them.

"At least when he was at St. Joe's, I could go be with him every day after work," Jack remembers.

Christofer is now 22 years old, has grown to 5 feet, 4 inches tall and weighs approximately 150 pounds. Jack is 75 years old.

"I've had to reschedule appointments because I can't get him there," Jack continued. "He's pretty much homebound without a van.

"He loves to talk," Jack continued. "He loves to talk to people. I let him call people on the phone and I put their pictures up so he can see them. He calls his former teachers' aides and people he went to school with. He just loves to talk."

A 2014 graduate of Hazleton Area High School, Christofer must have a nurse accompany him when his grandparents are not with him. Heather Gaughan, of Bayada, has been his nurse for 10 years.

"She's like family," Jack said of Heather.

Christofer cannot put any weight on his legs and is unable to transition from one position to another. He also has limited movement of his arms and hands, has to be fed and dressed and is totally dependent on his caregivers. His medical insurance paid for a Hoyer lift that allows his grandparents to get him in and out of bed.

Jack, who spent 40-plus years in the private security business, now works two days a week at the local wine store. Heather comes to their house a few days a week so Jack can go to work and he and Linda can go shopping. The Corras' daughter Chrissy Bishop also helps with Christofer's care.

Mobility Works, of Allentown, brought a few vans to the Corra residence to see which would work best for Christofer. The family decided a 2017 model would be best but, Jack says, at this point he's robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Christofer has a state waiver that will help with making a new van wheelchair-accessible but Jack says the family cannot afford the $26,000 purchase price of the van.

Jack laments the fact that Christofer is stuck in the house these days.

"He's very social and loves to be out," he said. "It's killing me that I can't get him out. I'd do anything for him."

YOU CAN HELP ...

If you would like to help the Corra family reach its goal of $30,000 to purchase a wheelchair-accessible van for Christofer, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/assistance-for-handicapped-van

Dotty Martin is the Community News Editor of the Times Leader Media Group. You may reach her at 570-991-6405.

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(c)2019 The Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.)

Visit The Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) at www.timesleader.com

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