Christmas came early for one local man who dreamed to be free.
Jacob Sawade first sat down with Tehachapi News last August and talked about how living with cerebral palsy has not stopped him from doing what he loves most. However, after a recent surgery, Sawade was limited in his adventures by having to rely on a wheelchair. That's when the 37-year-old began his search for something more.
His journey led him to the Action Trackchair which he had the opportunity to test ride. For this first time, Sawade was able to go off the pavement, over bumps and stand on his own due to the chair's design.
Sawade was determined not to let the high price of the chair get in the way of fulfilling his dream, so he set up a GoFundMe and a bank account in his name, then let the community in on his dream.
True to form, the public was quick to respond and rallied behind Sawade.
In less than three months, Sawade received approximately 100 donations totaling $19,300 — enough to buy an Action Trackchair of his own. On Nov. 30, 2018, Sawade received his new chair, and has since been exploring new places he never thought he could go.
"The first place I went, other than on a few dirt roads I have never been on in Tehachapi, was to Mt. Park campground, and it was the funnest and most memorable time I have ever had at Mt. Park," said Sawade.
Having tracks instead of wheels to get around town has allowed Sawade to feel like a kid again, like when he used to ride quads and go-carts in the desert.
Said Sawade, "I always felt I was an outdoor kind of guy, but have been stuck in wheelchairs that never gave me this kind of freedom before."
The next place Sawade said he wants to go is to Pismo Beach so he can explore the dunes which was once impossible unless someone carried him.
What Sawade said he loves the most about the Action Trackchair is not where he is able to go, but how it allows him to stand.
"Being able to stand up in the chair next to family and friends without having to strain my neck to look back up at them is the most amazing thing I have ever experienced in my life," he said.
As the saying goes, it takes a village.
Said Sawade, "I want to say thank you to the community of Tehachapi for donating and helping me achieve my dream. I greatly appreciate their support and am amazed by how fast my dream came true."