Local Family Says Thank You
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When Arianna Petty, 6, feels the sun on her face, she smiles and raises her hands in the air. She doesn't get to go outside as often as other children because she can't walk, can't talk and can't see. Arianna has cerebral palsy, epilepsy and an extremely underdeveloped brain she was born very premature. Her grandparents Patty and Dave Thomas, take care of her and two of their other grandchildren at their homes in Hastings. Last November, they were having trouble getting Arianna in and out of the house. She weighs 45 pounds and the ice and snow can make it dangerous to carry her on the outdoor stairs. At the time, the Thomases were asking for donations to help them pay for a hydraulic lift to help them transport her. Since then, people from across the area have donated about $12,000 online and at a local back, and a charity called Achieva has also stepped in to help. Patty Thomas said having the lift is life-changing. She watched a nurse take Arianna outside into the sun Monday afternoon. "I know she's happy now because she can go outside, and we can get to go more places than what we were able to do before," Thomas wanted people to know how much of a blessing the outpouring of support has been. "It's all I can say: Thank you and God bless you all, Without donors, this would've never ever happened. Never." Since Achieva donated money for the actual lift, the Thomases were able to use the donated money to help fund renovations to their bathroom that makes it easier and safer for Arianna to use. They're also working to expand a foyer area so her wheelchair can fit through more easily.