She’s a fifth grader and a shooting survivor, and when her wheelchair was taken, the community responded in a big way.
Phiona Willaims cruised the hallways in her brand new wheelchair Friday.
“I saw my chair, and I was, like, ‘ooh give me some hot wheels,’” she said.
Her first day on the new wheels meant testing out all the bells and whistles. Since it’s a motorized wheelchair, it will take a little getting used to. She and her grandma, Linda Williams, are overwhelmed by the kindness of the Capital Region.
“They was supportive, and I love them,” said Phiona.
Phiona was the sole survivor in a shooting last September that left her mother and uncle dead. Still recovering from two gunshot wounds, her wheelchair made it easier to get around. When it vanished from her front yard, the community stepped in.
“I really want to thank everyone who gave to her,” said Linda Williams.
Well wishes and donations came pouring in from across the country.
“I was like, grandma, we got $2,000, grandma,” exclaimed Phiona.
Soon, the mystery of the missing wheelchair was solved.
“I feel bad because of the situation that I probably had put the little girl in,” said Charles Cammon.
He says he took the wheelchair to a local scrap yard mistaking it for junk. When the CEO of Upstate Shredding and Weitsman recycling, Adam Weistman caught wind of Phiona’s story, he cooked up a special surprise that brought linda to tears.
“You are a huge inspiration to me and I hope one day I can be as tough as you. We’re going to put you on our private jet, send a limousine to your house, and we’re going to Disney World, all expenses paid,” he said.
“I was happy; I was like ‘ahhh!’” said Phiona.
She’s gone through a lot, but none of it breaking that spunky spirit. Something Linda says her daughter – Phiona’s mother—would be proud of.
“She would be smiling, she would be happy, she would be proud of Phiona period because Phiona is a wonderful young lady,” said Linda.
With grandma by her side, Phiona will continue to heal and move forward guided by the generosity of others.
They expect to take their trip to Disney World sometime in the next two months. It will be Phiona’s first time on an airplane.