Variety surprises girl with new wheelchair and van

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - The smile on Mollie Carter's face says it all.

'This is a very special gift to me,' says Mollie Carter.

Her new wheels, six on this power chair, and four on this new van are courtesy of Variety the Children's Charity.

When Mollie received word of her new power chair, the family began shopping for a handicap accessible van in June.

'Almost ready to buy the van,' says Sheila Carter, Mollie`s Mom.  'We were very close to buying it and they told them to hold off, stall them.'

'Was kind of touch and go trying to figure out how to not tell them they won but still keep them interested,' explains Thomas Vohsen, Mobility Specialist  with United Access.

Mollie has been going to variety's camps, doing theater and singing in their chorus and musicals.

Tuesday she met former Ram and NFL Hall of Famer Aeneas Williams and got the keys to her new vehicles.

Williams helped oversee Tuesday's summit at the Chase Park Plaza.

More than 60 partner agencies took part in the educational event that also awarded grants and donations to help almost eight thousand St. Louis children.

'But when you think of power chairs and the therapy and different equipment you need,' says Brian Roy, COO Variety.  'If you add onto that you have a van that's 50 or 60-thousand dollars to have these lifts.  It's out of reach of most families in general.'

'She can go faster to places she doesn't have to propel herself as much,' says Sheila Carter.  'She can stand which is great because she needs to be able to stand and build her bones.  Having this chair required having a new van and it's just a tremendous help.'

Not to mention, it`s a tremendous boost to this little girl's self-esteem.

'I'm not just that girl in the wheelchair,' says Mollie Carter.  'I'm just like everybody else.'