Area churches donate over $40,000 to Wheels for Emily
Update: One church was added to the list: Colville Free Methodist Church, who donated generously before the event.
On Saturday, $39,780 was donated to the Ryser family from area churches all over Stevens County. This money will go toward purchasing a vehicle that can transport Emily Ryser in her wheelchair.
Emily is an eight-and-a-half-year-old girl, the youngest of five, who loves school and who enjoys spending time with friends and family.
Unlike most kids, Emily is global developmentally delayed (GDD). GDD is used to describe when a child takes longer to reach certain development milestones than other children their age.
Emily has difficulty with her motor skills, is non-verbal and is wheelchair bound.
Currently the Ryser family only has a truck to transport Emily. To go anywhere, Emily has to sit in a carseat while her wheelchair is loaded into the back of the truck. Without cover, the wheelchair is exposed to the elements, so this means when it rains or snows Emily may have to go to school without it. Lacking a wheelchair accessible vehicle also makes it difficult for Emily to get out and about in general.
Emily is quickly outgrowing her carseat, which is another reason her family is trying so hard to raise the money for the vehicle.
According to Emily's mother, Marinda Ryser, the family has raised almost $10,000 through various fundraisers; like selling pies or suckers and by holding a bingo/silent auction event.
After attending the Wheels for Emily Bingo Fundraiser in January, Mel Stafford knew he had to help the Ryser family. In a collective effort, Stafford and his son Dean began contacting area churches, informing them of Emily, and asking them to participate in a large donation.
"When you travel down life's road most of the time things go pretty good. But as you drive along there's also some spots along the road that's kind of like driving up 395 these days,” said Stafford. “Most of the time you can make it okay, but once in awhile you hit one of those places where it feels like the whole mountain has slid right in front of you, and you can't find a way around it. That's when you need some help.
"I often wonder why things happen to good people. The only conclusion I can come to is that it gives the rest of us a chance to show our love and our compassion. That's what's happened here. The Ryser family has a little mountain to climb, but when the pastors in the area found out about it they wanted to get involved, they wanted to do what they could."
Several of the 20 churches participating in the donation had their Pastors representing them at the event on April 1. While not all of the churches could send someone, many had already mailed their checks to the Colville Assembly of God, Stafford's church, to be included.
More donations were expected to come after April 1.
Participating churches included (in no particular order): Colville Free Methodist Church, Abundant Life Fellowship, Springdale Community Church, Colville Assembly of God, Chewelah Evangelical Free Church, St. Paul's Lutheran, Gateway Assembly, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Valley Bible Church, Columbia River Bible Church, Marble Community Fellowship, Church of Nazarene, Clayton Community Church, Garden Valley church, Colville Community Church, Grace Evangelical Free Church, Hope Vineyard Church, First Baptist Church, Summit Valley Community Church, Crossroads Community Church and Addy New Life Christian Center.
Read the full story in the April 5, 2017 edition of the Statesman-Examiner. The E-Edition will be available online later this week: http://www.statesmanexaminer.com/subscriptions.