IL child receives wheelchair from 10,000 miles away - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

IL child receives wheelchair from 10,000 miles away

6-year-old Sam sits in his wheelchair as he watches television. (Source: Giacomo Luca, KFVS) 6-year-old Sam sits in his wheelchair as he watches television. (Source: Giacomo Luca, KFVS)
John Wood purchased the wheelchair for the Harsy family. (Source: Giacomo Luca, KFVS) John Wood purchased the wheelchair for the Harsy family. (Source: Giacomo Luca, KFVS)
TAMAROA, IL (KFVS) - What are simple day to day routines for most parents were a nightmare for a southern Illinois family. That was until the family received a wheelchair for their disabled son from a man who lived 10,000 miles away.

Katie Harsy of Tamaroa, Ill. met John Wood of Queensland, Australia playing the game Scrabble on Facebook.

Harsy's 6-year-old son, Sam, suffers from a severe form of autism. For him, light and sound are amplified and he is overwhelmed when in public places.

“In a crowd he panics," Katie Harsy said.

The one thing that helped Sam remain calm in public was his stroller, but which he quickly outgrew.

“In situations like that, I mean, you have to have him in a seat, you have to have him strapped for him to feel comfortable,” Harsy said.

Harsy and her husband planned to buy a wheelchair for their son, but, it was something the family couldn't afford.

That's when 69-year-old Wood, a friend to the family only through Facebook, offered the family help.

When the wheelchair arrived for young Sam, his mother was overwhelmed.

“I cried, I sobbed like a little baby. I couldn't believe it," she said. "And we were all so excited, Sam didn't want to get out of it.”

Wood and Harsy have been playing Scrabble on Facebook for nearly two years. The two explained that when you find a person who plays their turn in a timely manner, you stick with them.

“I was surprised that there was nobody else there that would have the ability to do it," Wood said. “To do something like that for Katie, to me was a no-brainer.”

Wood said he hopes others would help if they saw a family in need.

“It makes people more aware of what goes on the world," he said. "Which is the main reason why I'm doing it.”

Harsy said she was overwhelmed by what Wood did, but wasn't surprised because Wood is such a kind person.

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