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Community Rallies to Help Norwalk Man with Spina Bifida in Quest for Van

Emily Progin, PR and Communications Coordinator / 800.642.8399

Release: Immediate


Rain or Shine, Nick Hansberger Uses His Motorized Wheelchair to Get to Work

NORWALK, Ohio—49-year-old Nick Hansberger is a familiar sight to Norwalk residents, whether they’ve spotted him at his job at Summit Motorsports Park or working as the receptionist at Christie Lane, a school for children with developmental disabilities. There’s one thing they may not realize about Nick at first glance: he was born with spina bifida, and he is constantly navigating added mobility challenges and health concerns. The Norwalk community is rallying to support a new fundraiser for an accessible van for Nick so he can continue his meaningful work and contributions.

Spina bifida is the most common birth defect that leads to permanent disability—however, no two cases are exactly alike in the way that they impact a diagnosed individual in childhood and adulthood. In Nick’s case, spina bifida has slowly deteriorated his ability to walk and operate a car independently, even with hand controls. As a result, he relies on a motorized wheelchair not just for daily home mobility but also to get to and from his jobs: he must make a mile-and-a-half trip with his wheelchair each way.

Despite these challenges, community members report that Nick never complains—even as he faces inclement weather, riding home during the dark, or constant discomfort on his commute. “Nick has tenacity and a selfless nature. He never lets his disability get in the way of doing good.”

With his shining heart of service on display in Norwalk every day, Nick’s friends and family believe that he deserves a chance to live and commute with greater independence and safety. That’s why they started a fundraising campaign for an accessible van for Nick with the national nonprofit Help Hope Live.

Donations can be made online at:

In just two weeks, Nick’s campaign has raised over $6,700 towards his 50,000 fundraising goal. “Though there is no cure for spina bifida, each contribution with undoubtedly change Nick’s life,” the page reads.

Thanks to the nonprofit’s charity status, donations are tax deductible and responsibly managed, and they do not count as personal income or assets for Nick, so they do not disrupt his benefits eligibility. Help Hope Live verifies medical and financial need for every client and only uses the funds raised to cover qualified medical and related costs.

If you can’t donate but want to know how you can get involved in spreading the word and planning fundraisers, contact Help Hope Live at 800-642-8399 and ask for Jeanne Harmon, Nick’s Client Services Coordinator.

Help Hope Live is a national nonprofit that specializes in engaging communities in secure, tax-deductible fundraising campaigns for people who need a transplant or are affected by a catastrophic injury or illness. Since 1983, campaigns organized by Help Hope Live have raised over $158 million to pay patient expenses. ###

Written by Emily Progin