Needed: a new van

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes Charlie Cheney needs a new van. One look at how he fits into the current one, a mid-1990s Ford Econoline, is probably all it would take for anyone to agree. Charlie needs to tilt his chair back to about a 60-degree angle to clear his head under the roof of the van just to get inside. Once there, he’s only able to right himself to about 45 degrees, giving his face only about two inches of clearance from the interior ceiling. He’s ridden like this since he was 14 years old. “If we’d ever have an accident, I’m not as secure as I could be,” Cheney said. This weekend One Treasure Church is hosting an epic flea sale in hopes of raising the final portion of the $60,000 it will cost to get him a new one. The sale will be held June 28 and 29 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Cheney home, 1219 Manzanita Street N.E., in Keizer. Charlie, 27, was born with a neuromuscular disease called spinal muscular atrophy that causes an ever-increasing weakness in his muscles. The condition has confined him to a wheelchair since age 13 when he had a metal rod inserted in his spine to correct scoliosis. Charlie is a substitute teacher and tutor with the Salem-Keizer School District and an active member...

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