Knoxville boy shows off new power wheelchair at fundraiser

Knoxville boy shows off new power wheelchair at fundraiser

Posted:
On Saturday, The Country Tonite Theater hosted a special event for Eli, giving 5 dollars of every ticket sold to his family. On Saturday, The Country Tonite Theater hosted a special event for Eli, giving 5 dollars of every ticket sold to his family.
"It is more than anything we could have ever asked for or imagined it would be. It's just really been an overwhelming blessing," said Eli's mother, Dawn James. "It is more than anything we could have ever asked for or imagined it would be. It's just really been an overwhelming blessing," said Eli's mother, Dawn James.
"Anything a child needs touches me as a mom, let alone a special needs kid who can't do for themselves and they need us to come together and help them," said Jaime Hemsley, who organized the fundraiser with her husband Brent. "Anything a child needs touches me as a mom, let alone a special needs kid who can't do for themselves and they need us to come together and help them," said Jaime Hemsley, who organized the fundraiser with her husband Brent.

By JILL MCNEAL
6 News Anchor/Reporter

PIGEON FORGE (WATE) - Saturday was a very big night for a little Knoxville boy.

Three-year-old Elijah James was diagnosed with the most severe form of spina bifida. He can't walk or crawl, but he learned how to use a power wheel chair at rehab.

Tenncare wouldn't pay for him to have his own, so another family started an online fundraiser for him.

"Anything a child needs touches me as a mom, let alone a special needs kid who can't do for themselves and they need us to come together and help them," said Jaime Hemsley, who organized the fundraiser with her husband Brent.

The chair cost $33,000, but the gofundme site has already raised more than $71,000, buying Eli's family a wheelchair accessible van as well.

Previous story: Donations buy wheelchair and van for Knoxville boy.

"It is more than anything we could have ever asked for or imagined it would be. It's just really been an overwhelming blessing," said Eli's mother, Dawn James.

On Saturday, The Country Tonite Theater hosted a special event for Eli, giving 5 dollars of every ticket sold to his family.

"His personality just fills up the room. He's a little guy, but he's got a huge personality," said Shannon Klein, a performer at the theater.

Eli loved the show, almost as much as his new wheels.

"He calls it his Superman chair," said Dawn James.

The extra money raised online and at the show will pay for future wheelchair maintenance and Eli's other medical needs.



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