Lawrence Central steps up to give teen life-changing wheelchair

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LAWRENCE, Ind. – Imagine a teenager being confined to the same wheelchair since the second grade. It was a sad reality for one Lawrence Township girl. That is until her school stepped up to help to make her feel more comfortable, not only in her chair, but in life.

Christian Williams is smiling a lot more these days.

“I couldn’t do much in my old wheelchair, but in this one I can feel like the rest of the kids,” said Williams.

Debbie Dufek is a Special Education Teacher. Since she met Christian, she’s been an advocate for her success.

“She was in a manual wheelchair that she had gotten when she was in second grade,” said Dufek,

“Christian is an amazing young lady who pretty much does everything for herself. When I met her she could bathe herself, get in and out of the bathtub, she could take herself to the restroom, all we had to do was wheel her in.”

Christian’s family found her this wheelchair at a garage sale to replace the manual one. Teachers started to pitch in money for batteries and a seatbelt. But it just wasn’t working out.

“It’s bigger, it doesn’t fit her body and through this process we’ve learned she’s been having back pain,” Dufek said.

That’s when the company Quantum Rehab stepped in. They’re now doing a case study on Christian, which gives her the opportunity to use this new chair.

“We’re able to see, is she becoming more socially active, is she participating in things more, is she more verbal more interactive with her classmates and things like that,” said Grant Klinedinst from Guantum Rehab. He’s been working with Christian, making sure her new chair fits and is comfortable.

This chair gives her the chance to change positions, lean back and be at eye level with her friends and family. She told us about the first time she saw herself in the bathroom mirror.

“When I was in my other wheelchair I could never see myself so when I saw myself, I was like, wow! It finally happened!” explained Williams. She also talked about how she can race people and go to the park, like a normal kid.

“I can race people, have fun, go out and go to the park without waiting on people to push me. I can do it all on my own,” said Williams.

Special moments that kids across the country will be able to experience too, thanks to Christian.

“We’re going to present this across the country to different therapists, doctors about how important it is to get power mobility into kid’s hands sooner rather than later,” said Klinedinst.

For now, Christian is on the move, as she knows she’s got strong support behind her.

“Being in a school that has a strong support system for me,” said Williams.

This is just a trial chair that Christian is using. However, Quantum Rehab is working to get funding, so she can have her own chair as she moves on to college. Typically, a chair like the one Christian is using costs anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000.

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