Maycee Scott made it to the top of Tumamoc Hill the day after Christmas with a borrowed recreational wheelchair and a helping hand from the community.
This week Maycee, who's 18 and has cerebral palsy, can likely look forward to more time on the mountaintop thanks to United Cerebral Palsy of Southern Arizona, which plans to apply for a grant to buy her a hiking wheelchair.
Cindy Mars, CEO of UCPSA, said the funds aren't guaranteed but she's confident Maycee will be approved. Mars said the money for Maycee's wheelchair would come from the Bellows Fund, which promotes independence and inclusion.
In the past, the fund provided a Green Valley resident with a specialized wheelchair that enabled participation in marathons. Mars is confident Maycee's wheelchair meets the same requirements.
Maycee's mother, Marianne, said the good news doesn't stop there.
When word of the community coming together to get Maycee to the top of Tumamoc Hill got around, a Green Valley church where Maycee goes to Vacation Bible School donated $500. The church wanted the gift to remain anonymous.
Marianne said she plans to use the $500 toward a second recreational wheelchair for a lending program. However, she still needs to find a location such as the University of Arizona or somewhere closer to set up the operation.
The chair Marianne borrowed from a friend in Phoenix is a beach and all-terrain wheelchair that can cost more than $3,000. Marianne said she needed the specialized chair, which comes with a handbrake, to safely get Maycee down Tumamoc Hill. Family, friends and hikers pushed her to the top Dec. 26.
The chair Marianne is planning on getting Maycee costs around $5,000 because it's larger chair than the model she borrowed.
Mars said the fund is open to the more than 800 people the UCPSA affiliate provides services to in Pima, Yuma and Santa Cruz counties. Other UCP affiliates around the state and nation also have access to the funds. Mars said that there aren't a lot of families who apply because they might not be aware of it.
"We always keep an eye out for any of our families that might have these kinds of needs," she said.
Keeping an eye out is how Maycee became a candidate for the fund. Mars said she saw a television news story and recognized Maycee. She then called Marianne to tell her getting a recreational wheelchair for Maycee fit the purpose of the Bellows Fund. Marianne didn't know the fund existed.
"That's the thing when you get into this recreation world and you start to see that there's some cool stuff out there that can really let you access life," Marianne said.
Getting the recreational chair is about more than just opening more of the outdoors to Maycee, it's about ensuring her daughter has the opportunity to enjoy the same activities as the rest of the family.
"I don't want her to sit at home and have her day be like, I got to walk around my neighborhood or I went to church on Sunday, because who's life is like that," Marianne asked. "My life isn't like that, her siblings' life isn't like that and we've worked really hard at this point to have her be involved in her community."