Sister’s Plea Turns Christmas Wish Into Reality For Disabled Brother


 

Christmas means presents! Everyone is hunting for the perfect present for their friends, family and loved ones. Honestly, parents have it the worst… they have to find the hottest toy to satisfy their kids and most have to return empty-handed.

Max, is 25 years old and mentally about a 5-year-old…

However, things are very different for 10-year-old Maryland resident, Cassie Gretchel. Her mentally and physically disabled little brother Max loves a specific truck made by Tonka that was discontinued a long time ago.

At 25, Max needs special care. He has cerebral palsy and severe scoliosis. According to Cassie, the blue police hummer truck toy made by Tonka back in 2000 is the only thing he wants for Christmas.

He only wants a toy for Christmas made in 2000…

For the past 17 years, Max’s family has been getting him the exact same toy truck as a present. But, as the product was discontinued, the toy became harder and harder to find.

That’s when Cassie (posting as Reddit user, “Aishavoya”) asked the Internet to help her find the toy for her brother. She described it as “Mission Impossible”.

His family bought every other one on eBay for the last 17 years…

In an interview with the media, she said that the truck is one of the few toys Tonka made with levers that are super handicapped-friendly.

For her brother, who spends most of his time in a wheelchair, she says that the truck’s bright colors and structure is “pretty much the holy grail for a visually impaired kid who can crawl behind it without it going into the other room.”

Now, the truck is getting hard to find…

Max plays with the trucks for hours, literally running them into the ground. The rubber tires frustrate him and he notices if the signature metal hook is missing.

For the past 17 years, the family bought all available trucks on eBay.

His sister Cassie asked asked the internet for help…

“We have piles of them,” she laughed. “Twelve trucks are still active and then we have a few others we keep on hand for spare parts in case we need to repair.”

She even wrote that her family has purchased the truck for him the past 17 years from eBay and that he can tell when she’s tried to make him “resin cast copies.”

He can tell when he is handed a copy…

However, her plea on Reddit went viral immediately, thousands of people from all over the world went on scouring their homes and the Internet for the exact trucks Cassie needed.

People swarmed the comment section asking if the models they found were ‘close enough’. Some were successful in their findings and although Cassie wanted to pay for the toy, they all refused. They all want Max to have a happy Christmas.

Thousands responded to Cassie’s plea…

Reddit users also sent messages to the Tonka company asking if they could help.

They immediately responded! They wrote on their Facebook page that employees are searching warehouse archives in the U.S. and China.

Tonka’s Facebook Response:

Read more: This Christmas, May You Be Grateful For All The Gifts Around You!

It gets even better from here. On Thursday, a spokeswoman from Tonka’s marketing department, Jessica Gonzalez, told the media that the company was sending three employees to begin searching for the toy.

Even Tonka, the company that made the truck is looking for the toy…

“People were even looking for employees through LinkedIn and contacting their private emails,” said Jessica, “As soon as we received the first email, no one at this office batted an eye and we began searching for the toy immediately. We actually get a few stories like this sent to us every year and we always send toys to help however we can, but we’ve never been contacted like this through a viral post.”

“This one is tough because it’s such an old toy, we have to do extra digging,” she added, however, the company got their address and we plan on sending her as many of those hummer trucks we can find, as well as some additional Tonka trucks.”

They are also producing 10 additional trucks, especially for Max…

“They will be blue, plastic tires (not rubber), have levers, bright colors, and retractable hooks. Some will be steel items, some will be from our ‘Lights and Sounds’ line, all according to Max’s specifications” Gonzalez said.

Tonka will also be building 10 customized trucks and would be delivered to Max soon.

Facing disability, things can get difficult for Max…

Cassie was overwhelmed by the number of people who got involved. In her worlds, she didn’t “expect it to go this crazy!”

“It can get a little desperate,” she said, since not only does Max get one for Christmas, he looks forward to playing with a new truck on his birthday in May, too.

But, with everyone’s help, his Christmas wish will come true…

“We have at least one red one hidden in a closet for backup, so we never miss a gift,” Gretschel continued. “It’s like an all-year mission, but we haven’t failed him yet.”

Apart from playing with his trucks, Max spends his summers sailing and often participating in marathons with the help of a group called Athletes Serving Athletes.

Merry Christmas Max!

He also lives in a group home in Baltimore, where he has “a lot of friends” and is in the drama club.

“People expect me to treat him differently but it’s just like having a little brother who never grew up,” she said. “I still treat him like my annoying little brother, but I never want to let him down.”

Spread the JOY! and Don’t forget to share this with your friends!

Also, check out World’s First Water Park for People with Disabilities Aims to be Inclusive

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