TIPP CITY — To Stephanie Milas, her wheels really do mean freedom — and the ability to pursue her goal of someday helping others in the community.
Milas, of Tipp City, was born with spinal muscle atrophy, a rare form of muscular dystrophy that has left her unable to walk or breathe on her own. She uses a wheelchair and relies on an aging wheelchair accessible van to get around, which needs a lot of costly repairs.
Now Milas is hoping to raise enough money to replace her 18-year-old van, which will cost about $50,000.
Milas was diagnosed at six months old and her parents were told she wouldn’t live past the age of two, she said. Now 30 years old, Milas is determined to defy expectations and live life to the fullest.
“Nothing is impossible,” she said.
Milas earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and is currently pursuing a master’s in business at Wright State. To continue her education and reach her goal of someday helping others, a new van is essential.
Already using her skills to help a local food co-op with their accounting, Milas hopes to take the experience she’s gained organizing her own fundraisers and be an advocate for others with disabilities, helping them coordinate fundraisers as well.
Never one to be overcome by obstacles, Milas has been working to raise money for more than a year and she has reached about half of her $50,000 goal, she said.
Her next major fundraiser is a fish fry set for July 16. It will be held at the VFW hall in Union, from 5-9 p.m. Tickets are $10 per person, and all proceeds go towards the purchase of a new van.
On Oct. 1, she has planned the Wheels For Freedom 5K Run, Walk, or Roll. The event starts at 9:30 a.m. in Helke Park, Vandalia. Registration is $20 per entrant.
In addition to these events, Milas is also organizing an ongoing shoe drive. She also sells her own jewelry designs.
Aside from donations, Milas says she is always looking for more volunteers to help with events and other fundraising efforts.
For more information on how you can help or get involved, contact Milas at [email protected]
Reach Cecilia Fox at [email protected] or (937) 552-2205.