With minivan, road gets a little smoother for Merrimack family
Kamryn Batchelder, 9, and his sister Jade check out the van donated to their family by the High Hopes Foundation on Thursday. (Nancy Bean Foster)
Diane and Scott Batchelder of New Hampton have been raising their five grandchildren on and off for more than a decade in a small house that barely fits them all. When granddaughter Shayleigh, 7, developed a serious health problem, the family that was just making ends meet found themselves in crisis.
"She goes through a lot of spinal taps and has to be seen several times a month," said Diane. "She's starting to have a hard time reading, which is hard because reading is one of her favorite things."
Luckily, the family's social worker, Katy Gautsch, understood the dire straits the family was in and reached out to the High Hopes Foundation, a nonprofit organization that traditionally strives to make the dreams of seriously or chronically ill children come true. But in the Batchelder's case, getting the family reliable transportation was the goal.
The Batchelder kids, ranging in age from 2 to 11, hopped right into the van and found surprises hiding in the back. But mostly they were just happy to have a comfortable new vehicle.
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