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Ride to Give - A Wheelchair Van for Zyah
$24,500 raised
100% of $24.5k goal
928 contributors
0 days left
Ended Apr 12, 2017
Zyah Goss-Pittman was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at just 15 months old. Now that she's a spunky 7-year-old, the Pittman's are in need of a reliable wheelchair accessible van.

Stalena and Fred Pittman of Gainesville, GA have a beautiful and active blended family. With two children in college and one in high school and a 1st grader, their life is hectic, to say the least. They are proud of the accomplishments of all their children, but they are especially proud of 7-year-old Zyah. 

At birth, Zyah was your typical baby, but her health complications began when she was about a year old and started running frequent fevers. Her pediatricians were stumped as they could not find the root cause of Zyah's fevers. At 15 months old she was diagnosed with pneumonia, and her doctors quickly realized there was something seriously wrong. From there, Zyah's lung collapsed and she was sent to CHOA at Egleston. Doctors ran dozens of tests and during that hospitalization, Zyah was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, type II.

Spinal Muscular Atrophy is a degenerative neuromuscular disease. SMA  is a genetic disease affecting the part of the nervous system that controls voluntary muscle movement. Most of the nerve cells that control muscles are located in the spinal cord, which accounts for the word spinal in the name of the disease. SMA is muscular because its primary effect is on muscles, which don’t receive signals from these nerve cells. Atrophy is the medical term for getting smaller, which is what generally happens to muscles when they’re not active. SMA involves the loss of nerve cells called motor neurons in the spinal cord and is classified as a motor neuron disease. SMA is considered a severe form of Muscular Dystrophy, and recently a link has been found between SMA and ALS. In both diseases, the most common cause of death is the loss of muscle function in the chest, resulting in respiratory failure.

Besides homework, Zyah has multiple therapies and treatments daily. She has twice daily 30-minute treatment in a high-frequency chest wall oscillation vest with ten minutes of cough assist and suction, more when she's sick. She is tube fed for nourishment, uses a Bi-pap, and takes daily medications include Prevacid, Claritin, Singulair, Albuterol in syrup and in an inhaler, maintenance antibiotic Z-pak, Miralax PRN. She has rods in her back and physical therapy twice per week. In June, Zyah will have rod placement and rod extension surgery. 

Zyah's doctors initially gave her 7 years. She has since proven them wrong, and the Pittman's prayerfully take life one busy day at a time. Zyah is a very special child with a beautiful soul, a beautiful spirit, not afraid to try something new and faces challenges with a positive, strong attitude. She has participated in Cheerleading, takes singing lessons, has tried roller skating (that was a challenging experience), and is a girl scout. There is nothing that she wants to do that her parents won't let her try at least once.

Because of the degenerative nature of SMA, Zyah is now wheelchair bound, and it has become increasingly challenging to get her in and out of their traditional minivan safely. The Pittman's had hoped to simply outfit their existing van with a wheelchair lift system, but due to the age and mileage of their minivan, this is not possible. Due to the financial strain of having two college students and a high schooler plus a medically challenging child, the idea of purchasing a new-to-them wheelchair assessable van is out of the question. 

This is where Ride to Give, Team Boom and Zumba with Girls on Fire - Jefferson, GA step in to help. We are working with Custom Mobility in Athens, GA to find the perfect used van for the Pittman's. Please help us in support of "A Van for Zyah" by making a tax-deductible donation to Ride to Give. 

For updates, please follow "Purple Power for Zyah" on  Facebook

   Contributions are solicited with the understanding that the donee organization (Ride to Give, 501c3 tax ID 46-2952297) has complete discretion and control over the use of all donated funds.  Questions about how your donation is used can be answered by clicking here.   Please visit Ride to Give on the web at or on Facebook at

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