TIPP CITY — Now that she’s achieved her goal of raising funds for a new wheelchair accessible van, Stephanie Milas plans to pay it forward and help others do the same.
It took about three years — and putting her master’s degree studies on hold — but Milas, a Tipp City resident, finally raised the $50,000 needed for a new van.
She’s currently planning her annual Wheels for Freedom 5K Run, Walk and Roll event for next month, funds from which will go towards helping others fund their wheels. Milas was also spotted at the Troy Strawberry Festival last month selling her jewelry designs, which will also help her to pay for a service dog.
“I’m very determined and I don’t give up,” Milas said.
Milas was born with spinal muscle atrophy, a rare form of muscular dystrophy that has left her unable to walk or breathe on her own. Although doctors warned her parents that she likely wouldn’t live past the age of 2, Milas is determined to defy expectations and work to fulfill her goals.
Milas has earned two bachelor’s degrees in accounting and finance, and has resumed her pursuit of a master’s in business at Wright State University.
Since the success of her wheelchair accessible van fundraiser, Milas said she has been asked by others for advice on how to manage their own fundraising campaigns.
She said she hopes to combine her business and finance knowledge with her personal experience and grow Wheels for Freedom from an annual event into a non-profit.
Milas is also raising money for a service dog, which can cost upwards of $10,000. She is working with Wagmor Service Dogs of Tipp City, which is training a standard poodle to provide her with the assistance she needs.
The dog will be trained to get help, open and close doors, turn lights on and off, and even help Milas adjust her blankets, she said.
On Aug. 26, the Wheels For Freedom 5K Run, Walk, or Roll, will kick off at 8:30 a.m. in Helke Park, Vandalia. Registration is $20 for adults, $15 for students, or $100 for groups of six runners.
Those who register online by July 31 at https://www.eventbrite.com and type in the event’s name, will receive a free T-shirt.
Milas can also be found at other local events, including the Vandalia Farmers Market on Fridays from 4-8 p.m. at Seger Park through the end of August.
Reach Cecilia Fox at firstname.lastname@example.org.