Local restaurant has benefit to help Conway woman with rare disease

Local restaurant has benefit to help Conway woman with rare disease

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - The community is rallying behind a Conway woman with a rare brittle bone disease in the hopes of raising money to help her purchase a new wheelchair van.

The benefit for Sharon Black ran through Thursday evening. The Conway Chick-Fil-A donated a percentage of all of its sales during that time to help purchase a new van for her, something she says she desperately needs.

Many in the community have seen her at Frank Cinemas in Conway, where she pointed people in the right direction to go to the movies.

Still, few know her story.

Diagnosed with osteogeneis imperfecta, also known as Brittle Bone Disease, at birth, doctors said she would only live to be 6 months old.

"When I look back from when I was child to look at how far I've come, it's a blessing," Black said. "I can remember times when I couldn't even sit up." 

Now, at 58, she tries to live life to the fullest.

"It helps being independent, you know having my own home, my own car, being able to work, you know to be just like everybody else," Black said.

But her transportation is threatening her independence. Black said her van is on its last legs. 

"After a while they won't be able to order the parts, and I don't want to be without a van," she said. 

Black added repairs are becoming too costly and the van does not suit all of her disability needs.

"I am not able to use my new chair right now, because I need a van with a ramp not a lift," she said. 

Back in May, Black entered a national disability contest vying for votes to win a van. When she came up short, the community was determined to help.

"When I heard about it, instantly I knew who Ms. Sharon was from the movie theater and decided right off the bat that this was something my motocycle ministry will get behind to help with," said Jeff Edgerton, with Heirs of Throne Motorcycle Ministry.

 Black said she is overwhelmed by the support of both people she knows and complete strangers.

"It helps me to deal with my situation a lot," Black said. "Say I am home, I want to go somewhere. I don't have to call anybody. I can just go and come as I want to, and that's a great blessing, to have that independence to help you keep going in life."

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