SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The quadriplegic daughter of Springfield Public Works official Bill Pianka was recently injured when a driver ran a red light and crashed into her specially outfitted van.
“I wanted to take a moment to honor this van and the loss of it. Some may say that it is just a vehicle and it can be replaced (this is certainly true and this one, that enables a paralyzed person to drive, will take some time to replace). Other than my powerchair, this van was my first taste of freedom following my first accident. I remember the joy and pride I always felt being able to drive to work, to see and enjoy my horses and anywhere else! I even enjoyed driving my parents around after they transported me for so many years. 70,000 miles of adventures and fun. Being the daughter of parents who love cars, I have always felt that they have souls. I was told that this van learned how I drove and this was so true! (I even talked to my van like my horse). A case manager at Baystate had made a remark that maybe I should stay off the road (she thought she was funny and even in my condition, I turned around and said that I planned to drive again). She was embarrassed after learning the circumstances of accident 2. We cannot live in bubbles. Bad things happen, sometimes twice or more, but we have to keep going. That is life. Good bye good van. Your replacement will have big tires to fill. I will drive again.“Andrea Pianka on Facebook
To replace this vehicle that 37-year-old quadriplegic Andrea Pianka finds indispensable to go back to work, her father’s boss, DPW director Chris Cignoli, has begun a GoFundMe drive on her behalf.
“We have a gap of about $30,000 to $35,000, so we’re trying to get the word out to everybody and anybody to get that out there to help people out.”
The cost to retrofit a new vehicle could be in excess of $80,000. To donate visit the “Andrea Pianka Vehicle Replacement Fund” on GoFundMe. As of 4 p.m. Monday, $4,115 has been donated out of the $35,000 goal.