Big Al’s raised a total of $11,030 from a silent auction and song requests to help Annette Tate purchase an accessible van for her 11-year-old daughter, Phoebe, who was diagnosed with Juvenile Huntington Disease three years ago. Phoebe was all smiles at the event, and is pictured with, from left, Mallory Scott, Peter Scott, Lorna Scott, and Jody Uhren. Submitted photo

It could be a magical Christmas for an 11-year-old girl well-known to many residents on the North Shore.

Annette Tate said a friend and his brother have stepped forward to contribute the remaining money needed to purchase an accessible van for her 11-year-old daughter, Phoebe, who was diagnosed three years ago with Juvenile Huntington Disease.

“We are very appreciative of what everyone has done,” said Tate, who is originally from River John and who frequents her hometown and Tatamagouche regularly. “It all means so much. Every drop in the bucket helped – it started off as a trickle and now to this. It’s all meant so much to all of us.”

A fundraiser at Big Al’s in September saw just over $11,000 raised for the accessible van. Since then, a family – who knows the Tate family and who wishes to remain anonymous – stepped forward to help with the rest.

Tate said they have an agreement in place.

“We will go ahead with the planned fundraisers we have set, and there are a few coming up, and they would cover the rest of it,” she said. “The van is coming from Montreal. It’s in the cue to be converted.”

The mother said the donors are people she knows, who are very philanthropic in everything they do.

“It’s just something they do,” she said. “They’ve always supported us, they’ve always supported her, and they continue to do so.”

While this donation helps Phoebe become more accessible, Tate says every single donation has been significant.

“Whether it was $5 or thousands of dollars, we are so appreciative I can’t even explain.”

She said putting her daughter in their current vehicle is tough on both of them – Tate with her back and Phoebe with everything.

“I’m in tears because I know how much it hurts her. Both of us are so excited. I’m really looking forward to having this van, and I know she’s looking forward to it as well.

With already having a customized wheelchair, the new accessible van will allow Phoebe to go places with that particular wheelchair. It won’t fit in the vehicle Tate has now, leaving Phoebe in a wheelchair not specialized to her own needs. The customized wheelchair supports Phoebe in many ways, especially with her head, and allows her to be in a comfortable position.

The new van will allow the customized wheelchair to be wheeled in and out, making outings much easier for the mother and daughter.