Stockton resident Bethany Lara has been wanting to purchase a new special tricycle for her son for some time, and didn’t think that when she discussed the idea with her employer that it would actually happen.

Her son Grayson will be turning 3 years old Friday, and was born with spina bifida, a condition in which the spine and spinal cord do not form properly.

“I was told he’d never be able to walk,” Lara said. “The doctors said his legs would be useless, and basically just gave me the worst-case scenario.”

Nearly three years later, Grayson is able to use a walker to get around, and he wears leg braces. He does not have the strength in his muscles to use the pedals on his current tricycle, and his mother said it was difficult for him not to slide off the seat.

So, she began looking for a replacement vehicle that he would be able to enjoy. She began discussing the need for such a tricycle with Juli Jette, her employer and owner of The Village Coffee Shop.

“We were just talking about this tricycle, and she said she would raise funds for us,” Lara said. “I thought she was just going to put a jar by the case register, but it blew up. It was overwhelming, but in a good way.”

Lara said the fundraising for the $2,500 trike began Monday, and in 24 hours the goal had not only been reached, but exceeded. Lodians brought in large sums of cash and wrote checks to help Lara meet her goal.

She said she had about $2,700 left over from the fundraising, which she has already placed in a savings account for her son.

As for the tricycle, Lara placed an order Tuesday, and hopes to have Grayson riding on three wheels next week.

“He’s very intelligent, sometimes too intelligent,” Lara laughed. “He’s just very smart and figures things out pretty quickly. You can talk to him and tell him one thing, and he’ll correct you and say ‘nah, that’s not how that is.’ He’s the light of my life.”

When she told him he was getting a new tricycle, Lara said Grayson was sort of casual with his “that’s cool” response. She’s hoping he’ll be more excited when he actually sees it arrive.

Lara said there were no words to describe how thankful she was to the community members who donated money for her son and his tricycle, only that she was shocked and filled with gratitude.

“I just thank everyone from the bottom of my heart who pulled together for Grayson,” she said. “It shows how giving people in this community are, especially in this time of uncertainty. I certainly wasn’t expecting this outcome.”

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