WEST PITTSTON — Kevin Hiedacavage gets around with his motorized Pride Mobility wheelchair, but it can only take him so far.
The 54-year-old, who deals with Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (MS), is seeking to purchase a van with a chair lift to make transportation easier on him, especially with a special event coming up next year for his family.
“That’ll give me some more mobility, not that I don’t love my Quantum iLevel Wheelchair from Pride, but it’s only local,” Hiedacavage said. “I would like to get a van to go down and see my daughter graduate next year from George Washington University (in Washington, D.C.)”
Enter longtime friend Donnie Eifert, Jr., owner of Don’s Machine Shop, who is organizing a Squeals for Wheels Pig Roast and BBQ event to help raise money.
The event will be held 1 to 9 p.m. May 27 in the parking lot of the shop on Elm Street and will feature food, beverages, 50/50 and basket raffles.
Musical entertainment will by provided by a DJ, Dynamic Duo, and Flaxy Morgan.
Hiedacavage was diagnosed with MS in 2014. a disease his family has a history of battling.
Six of his 10 siblings contracted MS and two of them have passed away. One of his brother’s children has MS, too.
“It’s in the family,” Hiedacavage said. “My mother’s mother had it, but it skipped my mother’s generation. I was the last diagnosis and I thought I was out of the woods, but I got the shingles in 2011 and I think that’s what triggered it.”
Friends and family have come together in the past for Hiedacavage, such as fellow West Pittston residents Gina and Leo Malsky dancing to raise money for him for the 10th Anniversary of the Dance Theatre of Wilkes-Barre this year.
The van, Eifert and Hiedacavage said, could cost up to an estimated $75,000. Hiedacavage said $8,000 has been raised through previous fundraisers.
“I just want something to get in and travel with,” Hiedacavage said.
Hiedacavage was approached by Eifert back in February about the event and was hesitant at first, but agreed to let the event take place.
“I’m usually on the other end of this because I’m usually the guy helping out,” Hiedacavage said. “I feel a little weird being the recipient, but I agreed.”
The friendship between Eifert and Hiedacavage goes back over 20 years ago, when their children played teeball together.
“He’s a good friend, so we’re doing what we can to help him,” Eifert said. “His attitude amazes me. I don’t know how he stays so positive.”
With a van costing so much, Hiedacavage isn’t worried about the Squeals on Wheels event not raising the necessary amount.
“We’ll see what this brings,” he said. “I don’t need a brand new van and maybe I can get something that may not have the best ramp, but as long as I can get in it and go, it’s fine with me.”