LINCOLNTON, NC (WBTV) - It doesn't take a lot to make Oscar Martinez smile from ear to ear, according to friends. The 22-year-old is in the special education program at Lincolnton High School.
Oscar has Cerebral Palsy, which means he doesn't have much use of his arms and legs. He's also technically classified as non-verbal, but with his smile, he speaks volumes.
One of his closest friends is Junior Janie Woodward, "Honestly I get teary eyed when I think about him graduating and me graduating and not getting to see him every day. He walks me to class every now and again and he holds my hand."
The motorized wheelchair he's been in since it was donated to him in 2008 is starting to fall apart. The paddles Oscar pushes with his knees are held on to the chair with bits of duct tape. It won't be long before his only means of freedom and independence just doesn't work at all.
"It kills me because he deserves so much more than that, I mean he deserves a chair that's going to last him forever and help him the rest of his life," said Janie.
That's why students and teachers at Lincolnton High School have organized a huge fundraising effort using the website GoFundMe. But, they're nowhere near their goal of $35,000 that would go towards buying Oscar a new chair.
Oscar is preparing to graduate in just a few days, and the hope is that they'll have him a new chair ready to go by the time he crosses the stage to get his diploma.
For more information, check out Oscar's fundraising site here.
UPDATE: WEDNESDAY 5/27
Since our story ran yesterday, Oscar's fund has raised an additional $4000. Oscar made a video today to thank all the generous people who donated. Click here to see the video