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‘We were blown away’ - Georgetown family thrilled with new van for son

Amy and Justin McConnell of Georgetown have a message for Islanders who helped them raise enough money to purchase a van for their son Dexter’s wheelchair. A benefit golf tournament was held recently at Glen Afton. Dexter is enjoying watching one of his favourite movies, “Shrek’’, in the family’s new van.
Amy and Justin McConnell of Georgetown have a message for Islanders who helped them raise enough money to purchase a van for their son Dexter’s wheelchair. A benefit golf tournament was held recently at Glen Afton. Dexter is enjoying watching one of his favourite movies, “Shrek’’, in the family’s new van.

GEORGETOWN, P.E.I. – Amy McConnell said it was like winning the lottery.

However, the Georgetown family never had to buy a ticket.

Instead, the money came from a benefit golf tournament for seven-year-old Dexter McConnell, held to help his parents afford a vehicle that would accommodate the youngster’s wheelchair during trips to the IWK Health Centre in Halifax.

Amy and her husband, Justin, were hoping the tournament at Glen Afton golf course would raise about $2,000. However, more than 100 people turned out and brought in $13,500. The McConnell’s are now driving around in a Honda Odyssey van they purchased with the money.

“We were blown away,’’ Amy McConnell said. “To sit at home and count it all out and just look at it was literally like winning the lottery. It took a huge weight off our shoulders, that huge weight that said we’re going to be OK, we can do this.’’

RELATED: Georgetown couple needs vehicle to transport son to IWK

Dexter was born, full-term, weighing just over three pounds. However, he couldn’t eat or have a bowel movement for the first couple of days at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown. So, he was flown to the IWK, where it was eventually determined he has a micro deletion of chromosome 1p, the main chromosome in the body. It meant Dexter couldn’t keep anything down and would suffocate when he got upset. Then the McConnell’s found out Dexter, who requires 24-hour supervision, had Crohn’s disease and needed a colostomy bag, which he will have for life.

The benefit, called the Currie Memorial Benefit Golf Tournament, was started 16 years ago in memory of Delmar Currie who started Glen Afton. For the past four years, it’s been in memory of Delmar and the late Harley Currie, husband of Merina Currie, who currently owns and operates the golf course.

Currie said the $13,500 raised came from friends, family, golfers, hole sponsors, hole-in-one donations, auction items and volunteers.

“My heart is full as I write this,’’ Currie said in an email to The Guardian, reacting to the news the family had purchased a van. “I’ve learned that life is about doing for others what they can’t do for themselves.’’

Amy McConnell said the van didn’t eat up the entire $13,500. There was enough money left over to buy Christmas presents for Dexter.

“We wanted to do a sensory bedroom and we ended up having enough money to do that. Dexter is going to have a pretty big Christmas this year. I really try to make sure we go that extra mile for him because he’s worth it.’’

dave.stewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart

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