Sacramento girl wishes for van with wheelchair lift to help grandmother care for her

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — A little girl with a degenerative disease has a very special Christmas wish: one she hopes will come true.

Tarjaee Nelson is an 8-year-old who loves doing handstands on the trampoline, creating abstract pieces of art and has her heart set on a certain profession — teaching.

Tarjaee is also a fighter and has been since she was a baby. She was born with lumbar kyphosis, a degenerative spinal deformity that curves her back. It makes her unable to move her legs or feel from the waist down. 

Every day she relies on a very special woman to help her. 

“I had her all her life. She calls me momma,” Natasha Powells said. 

Powells is Tarjaee’s grandmother and has become her full-time caretaker. They make frequent trips to Shriners Hospital in Sacramento to try to treat the disease. 

“They give me an X-ray. They see how tall I am and they take my temperature and they do an ultrasound,” Tarjaee said. 

“As far as the walking and running and stuff, she can’t do any of that,” Powells said. “Climbing up on things, she has to scoot around on her knees. Every five years she has to have a surgery.” 

While Shriners has graciously given Tarjaee a new wheelchair, Powells worries it won’t fit the car she drives in now and will add to the growing number of challenges she faces daily. 

“The bigger she grows the bigger the wheelchair, and I have to lift it and put it in there, take it out when I take her to school. And it’s just hard for me,” Powells said. 

With Christmas around the corner, Tarjaee is asking for just one thing: a handicap-accessible van with a lift to help her grandmother. 

“It was kind of sudden, but I knew that she wanted that because I always be saying my back hurts, my back hurts. And so, I said, ‘Baby, I’ll try do to something,’” Powells said crying. “I just try my best.”

While Tarjaee has many things to be thankful for, she is hoping Santa or one of his helpers will give her and her grandmother the gift of a lifetime. 

“Can you please help me get a bigger car?” Tarjaee said. 

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help them get a van. 

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