Mariah Scott’s smile got brighter as Saturday went on.
Every friend or community member who stopped to chat or give her a hug at Flatwoods City Park during the Miles for Mariah event was rewarded with that mega-watt smile.
The 22-year-old was born with no arms or legs, a rare disorder called tetra-amelia, but it has never slowed her down or stopped her from accomplishing her dreams. With a little help from her friends and the community, she is poised to reach another one: owning her own car.
Scott needs a special van, which will be equipped with computerized controls and other special instruments, to drive herself to college classes and eventually to work. She is seeking a bachelor’s degree in education at Morehead State University and plans to teach special education.
On Saturday, dozens turned out to help her raise the $32,000 needed to purchase the van and participate in a festival celebrating the woman who has inspired a community.
“We just want to help her have more independence,” said life-long friend and event organizer Amy Freeman. “It will just let her do what she does.”
At midday, the event was on track to raise the funds, thanks in part to an offer from Fannin Automotive. The company announced it would donate up to $10,000 in matching funds for every $2,500 raised at the event.
“People have been so generous,” said Cindy Dean, another friend and event organizer.
Scott said she was humbled by the outpouring.
“It makes me feel really good that so many people care about me and are willing to support me to help achieve my goal of being able to drive,” she said. “It is super, super close now; I can’t wait,” she said, admitting excitement about the prospect of being able to drive.
“Seeing everyone do all this to help me, I appreciate it so much. I just can’t thank people enough for everything they have done,” Scott said.
Behind her a new, black Toyota van twinkled in the sun. The automobile will need approximately $100,000 in modifications before Scott, who passed her driving test at 18, can get behind the wheel. Once it is purchased, the Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehabilitation will provide the work.
“She has been such a positive influence for people,” said Erica Jones of Wurtland, who attended with her daughter, Morgan, 6. “I’ve known her all her life.”
“It’s wonderful to see the community supporting and celebrating Mariah,” said Scott’s cousin, John Callihan of Louisville, who was among the dozens of volunteers helping with the fundraiser.
“In America, having a license and being able to drive is so much a part of the freedom and ability to do what you want to do, and it will just allow her to do so much more. Mariah sees no boundaries and if there is a way to help her fulfill her dreams, I know she is going to be such a blessing to other folks.”
“It’s been a complete obstacle her whole life, but at the same time it’s been a life of achievement,” said Dewayne Yates of Columbus, Ohio, who has been friends with Scott since childhood. “She has overcome everything that has been put in her way, and this is just one more thing on the way to being her own person, which she is.”
To donate to Miles for Mariah, send checks to the Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital Foundation, 1000 St. Christopher Drive, Ashland, KY 41101. Mariah Scott should be placed in the memo line.
CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at (606) 326-2653 or email@example.com.
Event raises funds for local woman who needs transportation
Mariah Scott’s smile got brighter as Saturday went on.
- Local News
Grimes bus tour gets rousing sendoff
A recent poll,which has twice previously shown Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes with a slim lead over incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, now has McConnell up by two points.
In GOP South, pushback against Obama climate rules
In the Republican-heavy Southeast, critics said Tuesday that a plan by President Barack Obama’s administration to cut pollution would raise electricity prices, result in job losses and may not significantly curtail the carbon emissions blamed for global warming.
AK Steel posts smaller 2Q loss
AK Steel Holding Corp. (AKS) on Tuesday reported a smaller loss in its second quarter, and topped analysts' expectations.
UPDATE: Major impact downtown in accident
A morning accident left an ambulance resting on its side Tuesday morning in front of the Paramount Arts Center on Winchester Avenue.
Jesse Stuart Foundation celebrates 35 years
The annual Jesse Stuart Foundation Open House from noon to 6 p.m. on Aug. 8 will be a huge celebration.
Hagerman talks law with Rotary
At Monday’s lunchtime meeting of the Ashland Rotary Club, Boyd County Circuit Court Judge C. David Hagerman summed up current local legal trends — and how cases, courts and criminals have changed during his 20-plus year tenure.
POLICE BEAT: Houseguest steals valuables, nabbed at pawn shop
Fish and houseguests both stink after three days — and much less time when a visitor pockets valuables without permission.
Iconic Gate City bank torn down after partial collapse
This weekend, Catlettsburg’s downtown silhouette lost one of its longest-lived landmarks.
Demolition workers began to tear down one of the Gate City’s oldest downtown buildings following the former Catlettsburg National Bank’s partial collapse.
Study shows room for parking improvement
It has been suggested that the parking layout along Winchester Avenue should change, bringing the city’s main thoroughfare down to two lanes.
Anti-smoking tour kicks off in Ashland
A scan in 2009 that was supposed to show doctors what was causing Deborah Cline’s eye problems by chance revealed the cancer in her lung.
Two years later, Roger Cline watched his wife die of lung cancer. Deborah Cline was 59 and had never smoked.
- More Local News Headlines
- Grimes bus tour gets rousing sendoff