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GIPS student surprised with new wheel chair

Published: Mar. 15, 2021 at 9:28 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Monday was a big day for a second grade student in Grand Island as he received a brand new and much anticipated wheel chair while surrounded by friends and family.

Ian Thompson was surprised by all the new equipment during a small assembly at Dodge Elementary School.

“Over the course of the last couple years, we’ve had a lot of people in our corner who pushed to get this chair for him,” Ian’s father Franklin Thompson said.

A process that typically only takes a few months took the Thompson family years to get this new chair.

“Every time we submitted it to insurance it kept getting denied and denied,” Thompson said. “As parents, we felt defeated. I think the hardest thing for us was to keep going forward and put that next step forward. Some times you know even though we get denied and denied. We kept pushing forward. It only takes them to say yes once.”

The new chair is a huge upgrade from the one Ian was using, which was actually a loaner after his old chair broke a few years back.

“This is a power wheelchair so the difference is one an adult had to help him go where he had to go and this one we could control by himself,” GIPS Physical Therapist Jenny Rother said. “Not only can he drive it with his head, he can control his positioning throughout the day. It has a lot of high tech technology in it.”

That high tech technology will give Ian a new sense of independence he’s never had before.

“Throughout his life, he’s shown he really wants to be independent,” Thompson said. “On his mobility it’s always been really hard for him to be independent. He’s figured out little tricks like crawling on the floor if he needs to, but with this chair he’s going to be able to move. It’s a really big deal. Chase other kids. He doesn’t get to do this kind of stuff.”

“You can tell the difference now that he can go where he wants to go and do what he wants to do and just show us who he is,” Rother said.

The Thompson family said they were overwhelmed but very grateful for all the support they received these last few years.

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