Local family gifted wheelchair-accessible bus

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BETHANY, Okla. - A new set of wheels for a well-deserving family.

Bethany Public Schools partnered with The Bethany Children's Rehabilitation Hospital to give a family a wheelchair-accessible bus, free of charge.

Misty Merideth and her wife are in the middle of adopting their ninth child out of foster care. Two have passed away, but five of them are in wheelchairs right now.

With the new bus, they will be able to travel and go places as a family.

"It's a blessing and it's life changing," said Merideth.

Merideth and her wife adopted their first child in 2011.

They now have seven kids to call their own from DHS.

"These kids are worth so much more than their diagnosis or their limitations," said Merideth. "They have the ability to do so much if you work with them."

Merideth says it's tough to get everyone out of the house to go places.

They only had a Ford Transit to fit five kids in wheelchairs, two kids in car seats and two adults. It doesn't have a wheelchair lift either.

She says her heaviest kid is about 60 pounds and his wheelchair is about 90 lbs and she lifts it all herself.

"It gets to be a toll on the back," said Merideth. "I have rods down my spine. I'm not supposed to be lifting. I've had major reconstructive back surgery. It hurts. So, this is just going to make life so much easier."

But, thanks to The Bethany Children's Rehabilitation hospital and Bethany Public Schools, those days are long gone for Merideth and her family.

"The social worker the recalled me and said hey we have this bus, we would like to donate it to you, would you be interested and I said yes," said Merideth.

Merideth and her wife have had a long relationship with the children's hospital. So, when the staff got the bus, they knew who to give it to.

"To be able to do this for a family who is giving back already is what It's all about," said Melissa Richey, Director of Communications at The Bethany Children's Rehabilitation Hospital. "It's what we do as Oklahomans. We give back."

Merideth says they are already planning trips to places like Texas and Silver Dollar City now that the kids will all be comfortable traveling.

"A big thank you," said Merideth. "It's going to mean so much. I can't wait to blog about our adventures and all of the fun things we are going to be doing on the big bus."

Merideth also is looking for an artist who will come re-paint their bus. They want the yellow off and for it to be super hero themed because she wants the kids to feel empowered.

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