SAN DIEGO - It was a life-changing donation for 4-year-old Izaiah Wallis and his family when a 10News viewer came forward and bought them a brand new handicapped accessible van.
The boy suffered a brain injury and was paralyzed from the waist down three years ago. A teen, drunk and high on pot, hit him in his stroller with his out-of-control SUV.
Doctors didn't think Izaiah would survive but he did. And since that tragic day,he's taken some major steps forward.
But if it wasn't for the incredibly generous San Diego community, Izaiah's family says they wouldn't be where they are today.
Izaiah has been home from his latest hospital stay for about three weeks now. He was rushed to Rady Children's Hospital February 5 for a life-threatening intestinal blockage.
Around that same time, Izaiah's handicapped-accessible van -- his only mode of transportation -- broke down, making it impossible to get him and his equipment around.
“The van takes him everywhere -- to school, to therapy, just to get out to go to the park or go for a walk,” said Jacob Wallis, Izaiah’s dad.
The day after Izaiah entered the hospital 10News called his family and Passion 4 K.I.D.S., a local non-profit who has been working with the family since the beginning. Our hope was that some exposure on the news might bring the family what they needed most -- reliable transportation.
Sure enough, the morning after our story aired on 10News at 11 p.m. on Feb. 7, a 10News viewer (who wishes to remain anonymous) stepped forward with a $50,000 donation to cover the cost of a brand new handicapped accessible van.
“This has really meant a lot because we've been with them the whole way,” said Charles Van Kessler, founder of Passion 4 K.I.D.S.
It was kept a secret from Izaiah's parents until Izaiah was ready to go home.
“It's been a real blessing to be able to finally have reliable transportation for him and again I thank the community for stepping up and helping us to do that,” said Wallis.
Izaiah's dad says the journey has been a struggle, but would not have been possible without the help of so many selfless San Diegans.
“Without everybody stepping up and helping out in the community, I don't think we would be where we are now,” said Wallis.
The family is living in a home remodeled for Izaiah's needs by 64 companies and over 150 volunteers from around the county.
Linda and Charles Van Kessler remain dedicated to seeing the Wallis' through.
When they're not with them, they're busy caring for two dozen other local kids and families round the clock.
The Wallis' and the Van Kessler's say they’re thankful to so many San Diegans and encourage others to step up and help someone in need.
They say there is no other feeling like it.