Toyota donates 2011 Toyota Sienna to newlywed paralyzed in accident

Toyota donates 2011 Toyota Sienna to newlywed paralyzed in accident

Rachelle Friedman was a woman celebrating her upcoming marriage at her bachelorette party. Heading home from the night out, she ended up in a bad accident that left her paralyzed. Over a year later, The Bruan Corporation, world leader in manufacturing wheelchair accessible lifts and vans, teamed up with Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. to donate a special gift to a brave woman with tons of determination. As a surpise, the collaboration produced a 2011 Toyota Sienna with a BraunAbility Rampvan XT conversion to the new bride on her July 22nd wedding day.

Rachelle had been making good use of a loaner from BraunAbility via Van Products, Inc. Using the special van she was able to get around to appointments to plan for her upcoming wedding to fiance Chris Champman, therapy, and quad-rugby events. With the help of her mother carrying her in and out of the van, she was able to manage quite a bit.

Nick Gutwein speaks about what sparked the initiative for the gift, saying “Rachelle’s resolve and strengh are truly inspirational…We were so moved by her story that we wanted to help her not only while she planned for her wedding, but also as she moves forward in her married life.”

Toyota Motor Sales Corporate Fleet/TRAC/TCUV Manager and Braun Director of Marketing and Dealer Programs, Joe Garnett both presented the 2011 Braun Toyota Sienna to the couple at their Raleigh, NC wedding.

Soctt Heyer says of the experience “On behalf of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. and Toyota Mobility, we are honored to share in this joyous occasion,” and went on to tell the couple “We hope this special gift will enrich your new life together and enhance your health and happiness today and in the future. Congratulations!”.

Rachelle shows gratitude for her wedding presents, commenting that “The van’s made all the difference in the world… Not only has it saved my mom’s back, it’s just made it so much easier to get out and do things. I’ve missed this level of comfort, convenience, and Independence. Next up… learning to drive on my own!”.

Continuing to share her strengh and inspiration, Rachelle will be blogging her experience with driving lessons on BraunAbility’s site at

– By: Alexandra Koken