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LITTLETON, Colo. -- Despite everything she's been through, Kristen Bering always chooses to be positive. She has been rebuilding her life after a fire destroyed her home, only to face more hardships.
"I mean, the journey has just been so good to me and I’m blessed to have awesome people in my life. But now, I’m just having issues with my van," said Kristen Bering during an interview in June.
Bering was talking about the van she owned for seven years. She is a double amputee with end-stage kidney disease and was struggling with the van because it was not handicap-accessible. Bering then demonstrated how she has to pull herself into the van and then drag her wheelchair in after her.
Her story helped launch Contact7 Gives. Denver7 established a tax-exempt charitable fund with help from the Scripps Howard Foundation. Viewers were moved by Bering's story and began donating hundreds of dollars.
Bering was worried about paying for school supplies for her fifth-grade son, Logan. Thanks to all the contributions, Contact7 Gives was able to help ease that burden. Bering and her son were shopping for back-to-school when they were presented with a gift card at the Super Target in Superior. Target offered to match a portion of viewer donations in order to give her a $450 gift card.
The Target shopping trip was just the beginning. Bering had to get rid of her van because she no longer had the strength to get in and out.
Once again, the kindness of strangers made all the difference. Denver7 started working with the Used Car Dealers of Colorado Charity Fund to see if there was any way to get a new van.
"She’s just such a trooper. It moved us to work a little bit harder and find something that would fit into her needs," said David Cardella, the president of the Used Car Dealer Charity Fund.
A company called AutoTrek stepped in to help find the perfect van. The previous owner offered to sell it at a price that the charity could afford, but the van needed some body work. AutoTrek also offered to do the reconditioning work for free and sent it to a third party in order to conduct a safety inspection.
"I was amazed. She seems like a great lady and someone that could really use the help, and I think she’s going to do wonderful things with it — her and her son, Logan. I think they’re going to have a lot of fun in the van," said AutoTrek Owner Dean Strawn.
Bering says she is looking forward to the freedom her van will provide, like being able to run to the store or drive herself to the doctor. When she talked with Denver7 earlier this summer, she also said she would love to take Logan camping.
Contact7 Gives had one more surprise — a free camping trip! The team at Wilderness on Wheels saw her story and offered to donate an overnight stay in their deluxe cabin. Bering and her son will be able to take their new van up to the mountains when they go camping in September.
"Just to sit outside at night and check out these gorgeous mountains — this is going to be an experience she’ll never forget. And since she’s been through such hard times, we want to give her a positive day or two of being up here," said Barbara Cramer, with Wilderness on Wheels.
Bering was moved beyond words and the generosity of complete strangers brought tears to her eyes.
“Thank you. I just want to tell everybody that helped thank you so much. This is going to make a big difference in our life," said Bering.
Denver7 has created an easy way for people to help others in our community. We have featured the stories of people who need help and now you help them with a cash donation through the Contact7 Gives Fund. One hundred percent of contributions to the fund will be used to help people in our local community.