ARVADA - She's an energetic young girl. She plays several sports, is a cheerleader and has a smile that warms your heart. Darian Ortiz, 19, has cerebral palsy.
"She was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of two, and she has been in a wheelchair basically her whole life," Darian's mom, Beatrice Ortiz, said.
Darian was fitted with a power wheelchair about eight years ago and can operate it on her own, something that's important to her.
"She just likes to be independent. She wants to visit with everybody," Ortiz said.
"She's really mobile around the school. She zips down the hallway to music, she zips down the hallway to PE," Kathy Jackson, Darian's para-education teacher, said.
But the independence Darian did have was taken away a few weeks ago when their van, which was used to transport Darian's power wheelchair, was rear-ended.
"I was upset because now we didn't have a vehicle to transport her wheelchair. We can't put a power chair in a regular car," Ortiz said.
And to add to it, the insurance company has declared the van a total loss.
"They're offering us $2,500. My husband and I are looking to see what we can get for that [and] there's nothing out there," Ortiz said.
"I just think it's unfair that their car was hit, and now they're suffering because of something that happen out of their power. Poor Darian. She doesn't have her wheelchair . She's stuck in the push wheelchair. She's probably one of our most social butterflies. This has really curtailed her social ability," Jackson said.
For now, Jackson pushes Darian around to all her social activities at school. It's an adjustment for Darian, who is a ball of energy, but she isn't letting it get to her.
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