A local family is in need of money to buy a new wheelchair for a boy who was paralyzed after he was shot in the back nearly a decade ago.
Jabar Wright’s grandfather, Benjamin Wright, was a community activist who spoke out against the violence in Philadelphia. This made him a target of criminals in the neighborhood, according to his family.
On January 28, 2006, Jabar, who was six-years-old at the time, was in the backseat of Benjamin’s car in North Philadelphia when three gunmen opened fire.
While police say Benjamin was the intended target, Jabar was shot in the back of the neck. The boy survived the shooting but was paralyzed from the neck down.
Police identified the gunmen as Donte Rollins, Chris Powell and Raheem Collins. The family testified against all three men who were eventually sentenced to 120 years in prison. Despite this, Jabar’s family still endured threats from friends of the gunmen which continued for several years.
Jabar went through several surgeries and years of grueling recovery, defying expectations from doctors that he wouldn’t live long enough to become a teenager. Now at the age of 15, Jabar faces yet another challenge.
Jabar underwent a 10-hour spinal surgery on July 16, 2013 in which a rod was placed in his spine to correct a severe case of scoliosis, according to his family. The family told NBC10 the surgery added three-inches to his height, meaning his wheelchair was no longer able to accommodate him. They also say their insurance is unable to cover the cost of a new chair.
“Jabar does not qualify for another standard wheelchair for another two years,” said his mother Alicia Wright. “In this young man’s life he has endured many surgeries, two spinal infusion surgeries, a pacemaker surgery, flat lining twice, just to name a few things. But he never complains. He’s always grateful, humble and thankful.”
The family set up a GoFundMe page asking for donations for a new and bigger wheelchair for Jabar. Their fundraising goal is $60,000.
“As a mother, the worst feeling in the world is to know that your child has a dire need for something and you cannot provide,” Wright said. “My boy said, ‘mom, this chair hurts,’ and it killed me that I couldn’t make it happen right then and there. So I’m coming to all of you and asking to please help me take my son out of his misery of his chair that is too small and uncomfortable for him.”