CHAMPAIGN, Ill., (WCIA) — For the Moore family, they try to keep life as normal as possible.

“To know Kenny is to love Kenny. Even in your darkest days, his smile will light up a room and he has a very good heart,” Tekerya Moore, Kenny’s wife, said.

Kenny Moore is confined to a wheelchair, but it doesn’t stop him from spreading his light and supporting his kids.

The Moore family doesn’t have an accessible van to get around town. That makes it challenging to get to doctor’s appointments and places as simple as the grocery store.

So, his family and friends are raising money to put a van in their driveway and a sense of normalcy in Kenny’s life.

“I was always told as a small kid, actually as a baby, that because of some of my birth defects, I would have a harder time in life,” Kenny Moore said.

When he was born, his mom noticed problems feeding him and doctors found a heart defect.

“I’ve had five open heart surgeries,” he said. “I’ve had a few surgeries to correct some things with my legs. By the age of three, I was up and walking.”

But, years later in 2015, he fell playing basketball. His Spina Bifida progressed.

“It’s been a decline but I’ve been surrounded by my family and they help me tremendously. I don’t miss a beat,” Kenny Moore added.

He doesn’t let his health issues define him. Moore and Tekerya met while working at a bank in Chicagoland 20 years ago.

“He keeps a smile on his face so that makes me want to always make sure he has the things he needs,” Tekerya Moore said.

One of those things is a BraunAbility accessible van.

“It’s a van that either opens up on the left side or the right side so he’ll be able to either drive himself with hand controllers or we can transport him anytime or any place we need to go,” she added.

The only problem is, that van costs $60,000.

Right now, Kenny relies on MTD transportation to get anywhere.

“Sometimes he wants to go to Walmart but he’ll have to catch the city bus,” Tekerya Moore said. “A simple ride of 7 minutes to Walmart turns into 2 and a half hours because of the bus transportation.”

Or, if they want to go to Chicago to visit family or go to health specialists, they have to rent a van. That van can be $295 for two days.

One of Kenny’s sons, Jalen, said it can be challenging, but it’s always worth it to spend time watching Illini Basketball and the Chicago Bulls with his dad. That’s not all.

“We like to play video games a lot,” Jalen Moore said. “We spend sometimes hours just playing the games together. Whether it’s wrestling, NFL, NBA, or whatever.”

Jalen’s excited to help put together a fundraiser in the spring to make sure Kenny Moore can get the right van and be with him more often.

“It will help us go to little things. Let’s say we want to watch a basketball game at my school or something like that we can do it,” Jalen added. “Or, go out to eat as a family without having to wait for the bus or something like that.”

The fundraiser, “Kare for Kenny” that they’re organizing will include a raffle, silent auction and food. All of the proceeds will go toward the van that would change his life. Mike and Johnny Namoff from This Is It Furniture both helped to organize it. 

If you want to donate, the family organized a Go Fund Me link.

The event will be April 23, 2023 from 2-6 p.m. at the Venue C-U in Champaign. The $25 to get in includes food and entertainment.