ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. - A St. Charles County couple says it's being forced to fight for its disabled daughters' rights. It wants High Meadows Home Owners Association to allow a new wheelchair-accessible van in the neighborhood.
The association won't allow it because of its size.
The Carbreys say they can't move out of the house where they've lived for 18 years because of the many expensive adjustments they've made to their home. They've installed wheelchair lifts and track systems to help their daughter, 20-year-old Danielle Carbrey. She started showing signs of Batten Disease as a little girl. She lost her eyesight, then basic functions like the ability to walk and talk. Now she suffers from seizures. Most people with her condition live into their late teens.
"You go through life and think material things are what you want. Material things don't mean anything when you have a child going through this," said Danielle's mom, Shelli Carbrey.
Now, Danielle's younger sister, Holly, is facing the same challenges because of the rare, genetic disease. So soon, the family of six will have to transport two wheelchairs if they want to go anywhere together. In order to do that, they'll need a larger vehicle that can lift both chairs.
"This is a necessity," said Brian Carbrey.
The Carbreys found a van that will work for them. But it's larger than their homeowners association allows. So, they wrote the board a letter asking for an exception. A few days ago, they received a letter back saying in part, "Unfortunately the board is not in a position to approve of this vehicle." It goes on to say that the by-laws don't allow the board to make any exceptions. The board denied NewsChannel 5's request for an on-camera interview. Both letters can be found embedded below this story.
"We're trying to provide for our kids. We've got so much on our plate right now in caring for these kids that the least of our worries is homeowner's association disputes on just basic transportation and it does seem ridiculous," said Brian.
Especially since the family's time together is limited. So, the portion of life they have together, they want to live to the fullest.
"They [Danielle and Holly] didn't ask for this illness. And they deserve to be a part of the community," said Shelli.