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A Community Behind Colin
charlotte allen 14 editorial associate
May 24, 2012

When Librarian Angela McCarthy and her husband, Director of Food Services Michael McCarthy, discovered the national competition for wheelchair—accessible vans sponsored by the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association, it seemed to be the perfect solution to the increasing difficulty of their son Colin’s mobility.

Colin, 11-years-old and a member of the 5th grade class at Greenfield Middle School, was born with a rare brain disability called semilobar holoprosencephaly that has kept him in a wheelchair his entire life.

Using computers and cell phones, students, staff, and faculty came together to vote for Colin once every twenty-four hours for the closing six days before the NMEDA competition deadline (May 7- 13).

The final total was 2,961 votes for Colin, and Ms. McCarthy said that she and her husband are “very humbled by the outpouring of support we have received from the Deerfield Community and beyond. We have not been able to walk anywhere on campus without someone reminding us that they are voting or offering good luck wishes.”

Although the other 1,700 competitors had a head start at the beginning of April, Ms. McCarthy is optimistic about their chances. “When you have a special needs child, you always want to believe in miracles, have faith in the underdogs and want to do everything you possibly can to make their lives be the best they can be,” she said.

The NMEDA is giving away three vans with wheelchair lifts to families selected from the top 10% of contestants with the most online votes. The polls closed at midnight on Sunday, May 13, and the McCarthys, along with the Deerfield community, are awaiting the results.