Donation driven by Lynn family

LYNN – Tatiana Cedano knew the elderly gentleman who lives in the apartment above her in the King?s Lynne complex well enough to say hello in the hallway, but that was about it. So imagine her surprise when he knocked on her door and told her he was going to help her buy a vehicle.For Cedano, that meant an end to taking buses and trains to a myriad of medical appointments with her daughter, Joalani – or JoJo – who suffers from CHARGE Syndrome, a genetic disorder affecting children.?Having the van has been amazing,” Cedano said of the 2002 Dodge that she bought from a Haverhill nursing home, thanks to the generosity of her neighbor, John McCaskill.McCaskill is an 89-year-old GE retiree who planned to sell his Honda Odyssey last fall when he decided he would no longer drive. He became aware that Cedano was trying to raise money for a wheelchair van through a GoFundMe online fundraising campaign, but she was not close to her goal.?I wanted to help her,” said McCaskill, who lives at King?s Lynne with his wife Marjorie.McCaskill looked into getting his mini-van converted, but the cost was prohibitive. So he stuck with his plan to sell it, getting $12,500 from Kelly Honda on the Lynnway. He promptly donated that money to JoJo?s Wheelchair Van Fund, which he set up at Eastern Bank.?I have enough money to live on. I was going to give the money from the car to my two sons before I learned about (Tatiana). My sons agreed she should get it.”Cedano had a car, but when JoJo, who turned 6 on New Year?s Eve, needed a bigger wheelchair and it wouldn?t fit in the trunk, Cedano opted for public transportation to take her to appointments in Beverly, Boston and Woburn. It was challenging, to say the least.JoJo is blind in her right eye and was deaf until getting cochlear implants last April. She has a heart defect and underwent a double leg amputation when she was 1. She has only one finger on one of her hands. With a weakened immune system, a common cold can lead to hospitalization. Her mother estimates she has undergone more than 15 procedures.Despite all the challenges, JoJo perseveres, attending school at the Early Childhood Development Center at Lynn Tech. And the van has made her and her mother?s life appreciably easier.That makes McCaskill, a lifelong Lynner, feel good, and Cedano grateful.?He?s the reason we have a vehicle,” said Cedano, a 2005 Lynn Tech graduate.McCaskill said there was enough in the fund to cover the cost of the vehicle, registration and insurance for two years, but that?s about it. The van is also in need of some repairs. He?s hoping others might want to help as well.Anyone wishing to donate can send a check to JoJo?s Wheelchair Van Fund, c/o Eastern Bank, 156 Boston St., Lynn, MA 01904.

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