WE’VE CROSSED THE FINISH LINE (but we’re still running)!!   Leave a comment

Miles' new 2008 Toyota Sienna LE with top-of-the-line Braun conversion

We have wonderful news: we’ve hit our goal for the purchase of Miles’ new van!! And “Christmas in July” for him is coming tomorrow evening, with the arrival of his safe new ride. Amazingly, the fundraiser that was supposed to take eight months has taken just under three. Our “village” of family members, friends and kind strangers came out in full force once we made Miles’ needs known. (Mommy is pretty beat by the breakneck pace of managing it all, but is elated!)

Although we have just achieved full funding for the van, we are continuing to seek donations for the next week or two for the expenses related to getting it on the road. For example, our insurance premium will nearly double to adequately cover this new van with its high-end conversion.

Every donor has made a mark on our hearts that we will not forget. Thank you.

P. S. Stay tuned for photos of the delivery, the final Portsmouth Herald article, and the details of Michelle’s new blog on Miracle Miles.

Posted July 27, 2011 by Michelle in Uncategorized

LAST LAP: WE ONLY NEED $2K MORE!!   Leave a comment

Miles’ new 2008 Braun-converted Toyota Sienna LE, with only 9,000 miles, is en route from Maryland as I write. We only need $2K more now to take delivery at the end of next week and hit our “Christmas in July” goal. We’re so close we can taste it! (Which begs the question: what do silver minivans taste like?!)

So, in this final lap, the question becomes: who do you know who wants to see one of the hardest-working kids around get transportation that will make him safer and more comfortable when he travels to twice-weekly physical therapy appointments, weekly oral-motor therapy appointments, his great-grandparents’ lakehouse, and to church to hear Mommy sing in the choir? Something that will make it so much easier for his family to transport him that he will get to go to the beach, the Children’s Museum, and other fun places much more often?

Who do you know who cares deeply about those less fortunate, and would want to know about Miles? And will you talk to them about a last-lap donation? Or may I?

Thank you for all you’ve done to get us this far.

Posted July 23, 2011 by Michelle in Uncategorized

WE ONLY NEED $5K MORE   Leave a comment

Good people, we have some excellent news. WE ONLY NEED $5K MORE FOR SWEET MILES’ VAN.

And the other good news: after much research, we have located an ideal pre-owned, converted vehicle that’s in our $40K budget. It is a silver 2008 Toyota Sienna LE with a top-of-the-line Braun conversion and only 9K miles on it. We recently tried wheeling Miles into a similar appropriately converted Sienna, and couldn’t believe how much easier it was to maneuver him than in our current set-up. This van is on hold for us in Maryland, but can only be held for a few more weeks.

So we are reaching out to everyone we can now, to finish our work as soon as possible and secure this vehicle for Miles. With a big push in this most final stretch of our fundraising, we can still make our revised “Christmas in July” goal and take delivery by July 31st. Everyone who donates from now until we reach our goal will receive a special thanks of two tribute bookmarks for helping us get our beloved “MILES” license plate on this waiting Sienna.

Who do you know who would agree that everyone is entitled to a safe ride? Will you let them know Miles’ story this week and ask for their help?

Posted July 17, 2011 by Michelle in Uncategorized

A new “Christmas in July” goal!!   Leave a comment

Momma Michelle has just written the new press release and sent it to the Portsmouth Herald to get a follow-up story, hopefully in this Sunday’s paper. It will also go out to the York weeklies tomorrow. The big story is our revised goal of a “Christmas in July” delivery now, because of the incredible pace of donations. The release is posted in its entirety, below. (Is there anyone else you can share Miles’ story with? Thanks.)



Michelle Chumsae
Tel: 207-451-3039
Email: newrideformiles@gmail.com

Amazed by Pace of Donations, Parents Now Hoping for “Christmas in July” Van for Son

June 14, 2011 – York, Maine – The recently launched fundraiser to get six-year-old Miles Chumsae of York a new wheelchair-accessible van has surprised its organizers and followers with the pace of donations. Three-quarters of the $40K goal has been raised in just the first five weeks.

Miles’ parents are amazed by the outpouring of support for their severely disabled son since the May 1 fundraiser launch date. “This is faster progress in getting Miles’ new van than we ever imagined,” Stephen Chumsae reported. “There aren’t words to describe how touched we are by the kindness of so many family members, friends, and strangers. This means that Miles will be able to get his much-needed van well before our original goal of Christmas. In fact, we are now hopeful that we may be able to give Miles a ‘Christmas in July’ van.”

“We are pinching ourselves to have raised $30K so quickly for Miles,” agreed Michelle Chumsae, founder of the cause. “We knew that our son–who faces so many struggles–is loved by many, but now we see how deep and strong this love runs. But there is still work to do. Raising the last $10K will be the hardest, because many of those close to us have already made their contributions. We are truly relying on the kindness of strangers now to finish the job.”

To make a “final stretch” donation to help “New Ride for Miles” achieve its new July goal, checks made payable to Miles Chumsae should be mailed to: Kennebunk Savings Bank, 2 Hannaford Drive, York ME 03909. Donations and tribute bookmark purchases can also be made securely at the cause blog site, http://www.newrideformiles.wordpress.com.

Several upcoming local events provide opportunities for community support toward the goal.
On Saturday, June 25, Garreth Bowie–whose family’s fundraiser for their son Aidan’s van inspired the Chumsaes’–is honoring Miles by running in the Bobcat Bolt 5K. To support Garreth’s run, the Bowies are requesting donations be made to “New Ride for Miles,” and supporters at the event, which starts at 9 a.m. at Oyster River High School in Durham.

On Thursday, July 7, the Upper Crust Pizzeria’s newest location at 41 Congress Street in downtown Portsmouth will be raising funds toward Miles’ new van by donating a portion of all sales that day to the cause. A Team Miles donation jar will also be available at the pizzeria that day, and a raffle will be drawn there that evening. “Ironically, we became fans of Upper Crust down in Boston when Miles was hospitalized so many times at MassGeneral. It’s some of the best pizza we’ve ever eaten, and we’re very happy to have Upper Crust in Portsmouth now–and so willing to help us,” Michelle said.

Miles and his family plan to attend both events.

To follow the Chumsaes’ final progress toward Miles’ safe new ride, subscribe at the cause site, the “New Ride for Miles” page on Facebook, and Twitter @newrideformiles.

#    #    #

ABOUT “NEW RIDE FOR MILES” – “New Ride for Miles” is a grassroots fundraising effort created in the spring of 2011 with the goal of providing safe and accessible travel for profoundly disabled kindergartner Miles Chumsae of York, Maine. Being non-ambulatory, Miles is fully dependent on his wheelchair and a wheelchair-accessible transport for mobility. “New Ride for Miles” is working to raise funds for a preowned converted van to present to Miles. Only with the help of many will the dream of a safe new ride for Miles be realized. Visit newrideformiles.wordpress.com for more information on how you can help.

Posted June 14, 2011 by Michelle in Uncategorized

NEWSFLASH MILEStone…you won’t believe it…   Leave a comment

NEWSFLASH: Several generous individual donations this week have pushed our “New Ride for Miles” fundraiser to the brink of $30K. It’s just five weeks since we launched this cause, and we’re rather speechless that we are already three-quarters of the way to our goal. We expected an eight-month run with a Christmas delivery of Miles’ van, but now it is clear that we will be able to take delivery much sooner than that, which is absolutely thrilling. This weekend I’m writing a new press release with the news, which the Portsmouth Herald will be picking up for a follow-up story on our crazy success. THANK YOU, TEAM MILES DONORS EVERYWHERE. Our sweet angel is soooooooo very loved by so many!

Miles can't wait for a van that fits him!

Posted June 11, 2011 by Michelle in Uncategorized

AMAZING first-month MILEStone   Leave a comment

We have thrilling and totally amazing news to share: WE ARE NOW HALFWAY TO OUR GOAL!!!! In the final hours of the last day of May, we received our largest individual donation to date, and hit the $20K mark. First, we want to thank these dear personal friends, whose generosity amazes us. And secondly, how extraordinary to have gotten this far in only the first month of an eight-month fundraiser!

Now, please excuse us while we go pinch ourselves some more.

T H A N K    Y O U .

Posted June 2, 2011 by Michelle in Uncategorized

Fourth week report, and a humbling new MILEStone   Leave a comment

Happy Memorial Day weekend. Our most amazing early success for the cause continues–at the end of the fourth week, we are already at $17.5K!!!! But please, let’s not let that make us complacent. 🙂

Donations of all sizes are still coming in, although they have slowed considerably without recent press coverage. Next week we will be distributing press releases to Greater Portland newspapers, and once we hit the $20K halfway mark, we will do another York-area release. We’re always looking for news angles! We are also starting to plan events and other tactical approaches to raising visibility and funds. Momma Michelle will start selling the tribute bookmarks at eBay and Etsy.com. We are planning to have a fundraising night at The Upper Crust’s new Portsmouth location this summer (and they some of the best pizza we have EVER eaten); we are just waiting on a date assignment from them, which will probably be a Thursday in July. We are also seriously discussing releasing a high-caliber music compilation for sale online this summer. Stay tuned here for details and updates by clicking on “Subscribe to this blog,” above, if you haven’t already. And please feel free to post your fundraising ideas here.

Our fundraising progress is especially timely because we have struggled very recently getting Miles in and out of the van. We are not sure why– we suspect a growth spurt–but suddenly Miles’ head is just not clearing the van door opening at all while he’s at the top of the ramp. Last Friday he actually hit his head coming out of the van for his physical therapy session in South Berwick. We were able to do one more major adjustment to his wheelchair afterward, to lower him in it one more time, and buy us some more time for the new van.

THANK YOU to every donor thus far, and to everyone who has shared Miles’ story with others. Is there anyone else you know who might help? Let’s see how long we can sustain this thrilling world-record pace, and how quickly we can get Miles his much-needed safe new ride!

P.S. If anyone is interested in helping Miles in another important way, Michelle has just co-founded another fundraiser called “Help My Child Learn to Walk.” Tax-deductible donations made this summer will provide highly effective gait-training therapy at his special-needs school for the first time. Donors will actually be helping many non-ambulatory young students and adults–including sweet Miles–to learn to walk. For details, please visit http://www.helpmychildlearntowalk.wordpress.com.

Posted May 28, 2011 by Michelle in Uncategorized

An amazing second week, and a new MILEStone   2 comments

The Team Miles momentum continues with support from near and far in this second week of the fundraiser. Would you believe us if we told you that we have hit the $10K mark?!?! Yes, BELIEVE IT!! How extraordinary and unbelievable that we are already one quarter of the way to our goal. Perhaps Miles will even be able to get his new van a bit early. (It would make the most wonderful Thanksgiving gift, don’t you think?) Getting Miles in and out of his current van gets a little scarier every week, especially with his recent new growth spurts from all the weight-bearing he’s been able to do. It won’t be a moment too soon when we take delivery of an appropriately converted vehicle for him.

Please don’t forget about our tribute bookmarks when making a contribution or spreading the word. We want folks to feel that they can give financial support to our cause and get a beautiful (and functional) keepsake in return. They make a wonderful little surprise in a birthday or graduation or even a wedding card, or for your kids’ favorite teachers at the end of the school year.

THANK YOU to everyone who has taken the time out of their busy day to care about Miles with such generosity. Can we ask you to keep up this momentum?

Posted May 12, 2011 by Michelle in Uncategorized

A Great First Week   2 comments

Thank you to everyone who has provided support to “New Ride for Miles” in this first week. Already we have raised over $5K toward Miles’ new van!! It has been amazing to see the donations and bookmark purchases and posted comments start to come in. We have received individual donations in amounts from $5 to $1,000, and every single one makes a difference. Our story was told in last Sunday’s Portsmouth Herald, and people have reached out to tell us that they were touched by it. Tomorrow the Herald is running a more in-depth, full-length story on our fundraiser, this time with an interview by both of us parents and a photo of our whole family.

There is a lot to be done to really start to get the word out and raise the other $35K, and our family cannot do it alone. We need missionaries to help spread the word about the cause. We need go-getters who will organize a raffle…a pancake breakfast…a motorcycle event…an ice cream social. Or run a road race for Team Miles. You name it. We need kind-hearted souls to forward this blog URL and the Herald article link to everyone they know. This is a quintessential grassroots effort, which starts with community.

THANK YOU for a great first week.

Posted May 7, 2011 by Michelle in Uncategorized

Mayday! Mayday! “New Ride for Miles” is officially launched   1 comment

It’s a beautiful, sunny “May Day” here in York, Maine, and we are delighted to formally launch our “New Ride for Miles” fundraiser today. Getting to this point has been a labor of love, and we are anxious to get started after six weeks of planning and preparing. Our sights are set on getting Miles his safe new ride for Christmas 2011.

Donation and tribute bookmark purchase options are now fully enabled on this site; just click through the corresponding links here on the “New Ride” homepage (below the photo banner) to get details, and to provide your financial support.

We are thrilled that the “New Ride for Miles” fundraiser story is featured in today’s edition of the Sunday Portsmouth Herald, as was our hope. The initial response has been amazing, with readers thanking me for sharing Miles’ story. So many people are unaware of this needy child in their community. It’s a good article that features the image of the custom bookmarks that we are selling for the cause. Read it at: http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20110501-NEWS-105010334

Our press release is also featured on page 2 of this week’s Weekly Sentinel, and will run in the Wednesday, May 4 issue of the York Weekly.

Thank you for joining and supporting us in this journey. Be sure to subscribe to this blog, so we can keep you updated with new events and happenings toward our goal.

Posted May 1, 2011 by Michelle in Uncategorized