2 organizations gift wheelchair van to Bridgeport teen with disabilities
A Bridgeport woman who adopted a child with Shaken Baby Syndrome is thanking two local nonprofits for gifting her daughter a wheelchair van.
Spend a little time with 61-year-old Petrona Miles and you'll quickly understand why so many people think of her as "a great Bridgeport matriarch."
She started out as a foster mother 17 years ago but ended up adopting daughter Victoria and daughter Cece, who has Shaken Baby Syndrome.
Miles took CeCe in when she was just 3 months old.
"She doesn't walk, she can't do anything for herself," Miles said of CeCe.
CeCe goes to Saint Vincent's Special Needs in Trumbull.
Because the teen weighs almost 300 pounds, Miles said just pushing her in a wheelchair can be an effort. She is now able to transfer CeCe into a conventional minivan, picking the child up all by herself and putting her in without help from anyone.
"It was hard," Miles said.
"It's been extremely challenging for Petrona because she's not able to go out into the community with her family," said Emily Teixeira, of Saint Vincent's Special Needs.
But two nonprofits came together Wednesday, "Amy's Angels" and "The Umbrella Club of Stamford," to lift that burden off Petrona's shoulders by giving her a custom wheelchair van.
"I think it's certainly a life-changing event that we're part of today," said Bob Fiondella, Amy's Angels founder and chairman.
"It's amazing just knowing that we're helping them get out into the community," said Umbrella Club's Scott Kelly.
Miles said she's happy to be in the driver's seat and is thankful for Amy's Angels and the Umbrella Club for clearing a path forward for her little family.