EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 7, 2013

Family raising funds to purchase wheelchair van for disabled twins

By Sara Brown

---- — LAWRENCE - JoAnne McNulty describes her 16-year-old identical twin boys, Max and Sam Snider, as the cutest boys she’s ever seen.

“They really are such great kids. Everyone loves them,” she said.

But, the boys haven’t always had it easy. McNulty gave birth to the twins three months prematurely and now they have multiple disabilities because of it.

They have mitochondrial disease, cerebral palsy and kidney failure. The boys are blind, are unable to speak and need feeding tubes and oxygen . They are dependent on others for their care.

McNulty is currently raising funds to help her buy a wheelchair van for them. She drives them everywhere and currently is lifting them into and out of her car several times a day.

“As they grow up, they are getting heavier to lift and I don’t think I can do it for much longer,” McNulty said.

The family had a wheelchair van for about 13 years until last June when it finally died. A new van costs about $60,000.

“We are not looking for the whole van to be paid off by others,” McNulty said. “We are just looking to make the payments more affordable.”

McNulty is currently selling a cash calendar to raise funds.

A new wheelchair van will make life easier on the family.

“For one, it will be easier on my back,” McNulty said.

However, a new van will allow the boys to be more social in the community which is important for McNulty.

‘We are a social family. We like to go out to plays, go apple picking and just be in the community. We don’t want them to be stuck at home,” she said.

McNulty describes Max has the “calm one.”

“He loves music. We sing show tunes. He loves going to musicals. You should see his face when he hears one of his favorite songs,” she said.

Sam, the youngest twin and the youngest in the family, is the “baby” of the family, McNulty said. She also says her youngest son is the silliest.

“He’s a typical boy. Tell him something smells and he thinks it’s the funniest thing in the world,” she laughed.

Despite all their medical troubles, the twins are still happy-go-lucky teenage boys.

“Their smiles really do light up the room,” their mother said.

McNulty said she is hoping to have a fundraising event in February.

“We want them home. We don’t want to send them to a facility. We just need a little help in doing so,” she said.

Cash donations may be made directly to the Holy Family Credit Union, 70 East St Methuen, MA 01844 in care of the Max & Sam Van Fund or via the web at gofundme.com search Max and Sam Snider Van Fund.

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