June 30, 2007, marks the date that every parents' nightmare became one family's reality.
Matthew "Chase" McDaniel, then a recent Wilson Central High School graduate and wrestler, was in a car accident that left him a quadriplegic and facing a troubling financial situation.
"It's trying times," said Emma Fish, Chase's great-aunt.
The family tries to remain optimistic about the situation, so when a little rain began to pour down Saturday morning on the family's Castle Heights' street-long benefit yard sale, Chase's family stood their ground because they knew what was at stake.
"We are trying to set the goal for a van to be able to get him out. Those vans, a used one at that, too, are not cheap; but it's what it's all about," said Sue Lackey, Chase's other great-aunt.
Fish added, "We are wanting to get a van with a lift on it so we can bring him out of Quality Care to eat, go to church or things like that.
"There is so much that he needs, like a special type of speaker computer to speak through. Things like that he can do using his head. Actually have the phone hooked up to the computer, for when it rings, he can speak in it and he can talk to people."
Reba Hailey, Chase's grandmother, said, "It was raining earlier and we thought we would try anyway. It [rain] could have hurt us but we've had a huge turn out. We have eight volunteers today; it's suppose to be a street long sale but maybe a lot of them can't because it rained earlier."
"We know this is a yard sale and to be raining like it was, we've had a big turn-out under the these conditions," said Fish.
As shoppers looked through the enclosed yard sale, family members talked to neighbors about Chase's condition and thanked them for their support.
Shopper Kimberly Lestich said, "My mom was talking about it. So we came out to help as much as we can."
Fish said,"Several of the neighbors have given donations, not big donations but a dollar here, a dollar there, still counts up a lot."
The family plans to host another benefit yard and bake goods sale Saturday, May 3, from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. on the scheduled rain-out date on Castle Heights and Fish plans to also hold a yard and food sale at her home on Nixon Drive. Proceeds from both sales will go to Chase.
"Later we plan to host a musical dinner benefit probably in the latter part of July or August," added Haliey.
To make a monetary donation to McDaniel, visit any First Tennessee branch and place the donation in the Matthew "Chase" McDaniel special account.
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