CAPE CORAL, Fla.- Getting a driver’s license is a rite of passage for most teenagers, but for a Cape Coral girl, the one thing that would make her more independent is much harder to come by, physically and financially.
Alexis Holmes, 14, has Muscular Dystrophy. Diagnosed as a baby, she’s now in a wheelchair full time. While Alexis has an undeniable positive spirit, it’s not always easy.
Her mom, Angie Holmes, says, “it hit me when she turned 14, that oh my gosh, I only have a year until she gets her driver’s permit, and I don’t have anything for her to practice driving on.”
She adds, “the car has to be completely set up to her abilities where only hand controls will drive the car, no foot pedals or anything like that and it also has to be wheelchair accessible.”
“I need help doing most of the basic things… brushing my hair sometimes, getting dressed and taking showers,” said Alexis.
“She wants to go and do things and be with her friends and hang out with her friends and not every house is handicap accessible. She can’t just hop in her friends car and go, that’s why we want her to have her own car, so she can be the one driving her friends around,” said Angie.
But that customized car isn’t cheap. It can cost up to $100,000.
“It’s hard, because every mom wants to provide something safe and they want to make their children happy. And Alexis has such an independent spirit, and for us to say ‘I’m sorry, I just can’t do that for you’ is heartbreaking. It’s very difficult for her dad and I to not be able to just provide that to her right away and not have to ask for help,” said Angie.
You might think the struggles would break someone down, but not this girl. Alexis maintains straight As in school and even plays the snare drum in the high school marching band.
“Super proud, I couldn’t ask for anything more. She’s amazing. Her father and I are extremely proud of her.”
That’s why they’ll do whatever they can to help Alexis get behind the wheel.
“It would mean a lot, and it would just mean a lot to me if I were able to do that. I’ve always wanted to,” said Alexis.
“I just want her to be like every other teenager out there, and have her independence and have the freedom to do what other teenage girls do and her father and I just need help achieving that goal, she deserves it,” said Angie.