Checkers surprise wheelchair bound fan with new van

Checkers surprise wheelchair bound fan with new van

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by BEN THOMPSON / NewsChannel 36 Staff

Bio | Follow: @BenTNews | Email

WCNC.com

Posted on April 8, 2012 at 4:56 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 9 at 6:54 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A Hickory Ridge High School freshman and his family were given an unexpected surprise at Saturday’s Charlotte Checker’s hockey game.

Forrest Walton, 15, and his mother Sherri Gotcher were escorted out onto the ice and presented with a brand new mini-van.

“I didn't know what to say. It was awesome. I’m just speechless right now,” said Walton, after the presentation.

The surprise came after a couple of years of hard work from friends and family. Forrest suffers from a form of muscular dystrophy and they had been trying to raise money to replace the van he and his mother were using to transport themselves and his wheelchair. The odometer was broken, the transmission needed to be replaced, the bumper fell off and the brakes were spotty.

Officials with the Checker’s hockey team noticed a YouTube video that had been posted online about Walton.

“It means that I will have peace of mind knowing my son will be safe in the van. I won't have to worry about it breaking down, windows falling out or wheels falling off or anything,” said Gotcher.

The van was provided by Hendrick Automotive Group and will be custom-fitted with the appropriate equipment with money from the Checkers and the money raised from fans at Saturday’s game.

“I just wanna say thanks to all that helped us get this van. And thanks for the Checkers for making it happen,” said Walton.

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