WICHITA, Kan., April 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc. and the Braun Corporation today announced the donation of a 2011 Toyota Sienna with a BraunAbility Rampvan® XT wheelchair van conversion to the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Guardian Angels Foundation. As part of his grand prize package from last year's Toyota Sponsafier 2 contest, Jeff Hallowell of Maize, Kansas will use the Rampvan on behalf of the organization.
Hallowell, who was diagnosed with ALS—commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease—nearly nine years ago, and his son created a dynamic online rendering of a NASCAR Sprint Cup car as part of Toyota's Sponsafier 2 contest—the quest to take one fan's masterpiece from online design to real sheet metal. Their "Lou Gehrig aka ALS" design received thousands of fan votes and a nod from the judges, earning it top honors. As a result, their inspired paint scheme was brought to life at Toyota's PitPass display during the November 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in Phoenix. Toyota flew Hallowell and his family to Phoenix to attend the race weekend festivities and spend time with several Toyota NASCAR drivers, including Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Todd Bodine and Mike Skinner. In addition to hosting the family, Toyota also pledged its support to the ALS Guardian Angels Foundation in the form of a Sienna wheelchair van conversion.
"Toyota has a long-standing commitment to serving the community," said Ed Laukes, corporate motorsports marketing manager for Toyota. "We're honored to support the ALS Guardian Angels Foundation and hope this vehicle will provide increased mobility and improved quality of life for Jeff and his family."
"As a company who has served the disability community for over 40 years, Braun understands the significant impact that mobility can have on your life," said Nick Gutwein, President of Braun. "The Hallowell family deserves that independence, and we're proud to be able to help bring it to them."
Toyota Advertising Manager Russ Koble and BraunAbility Area Sales Manager Lloyd Updike will present the 2011 Toyota Sienna Rampvan® XT to the ALS Guardian Angels Foundation and the Hallowell family at Eddy's Toyota of Wichita this afternoon. The Sienna Rampvan was custom built specifically for Hallowell and his current wheelchair and will assist with his transportation needs.
"The Sienna mobility van will allow my family to travel out of state, do daily errands and attend my son's sports games," said Hallowell. "It will give me independence outside our home. We are so grateful for everything Toyota and Braun has done for us."
The 2011 Rampvan was introduced to the U.S. market in 2010. In partnership with Toyota Mobility, which provides financial assistance and a variety of mobility solutions that meet the transportation needs of Americans with disabilities, Braun converts Sienna Rampvans to offer mobility to wheelchair users, either as the driver, front seat passenger, or second row passenger. The vehicle features a lowered floor which provides a 56" high door opening, an automatic door and side-entry ramp, and four wheelchair securement positions.
About Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.
Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc. is the marketing, sales, distribution, and customer service arm of Toyota, Lexus and Scion. Established in 1957, TMS markets products and services through a network of more than 1,400 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealers. Toyota directly employs more than 34,000 people in the U.S. and sold more than 1.76 million vehicles in 2010. For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyota.com, www.lexus.com, www.scion.com or www.toyotanewsroom.com.
About The Braun Corporation
The Braun Corporation is the world's leading manufacturer of wheelchair accessible vans, ramps, and wheelchair lifts and enables people with physical disabilities to regain mobility and lead active and independent lives. The Indiana-based company was founded by Ralph Braun, who was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy at a young age and unable to walk by age 15. Ralph was motivated by his disability to invent the world's first electric scooter (the Tri-Wheeler) and wheelchair lift (the Lift-A-Way) in his parents' garage. Word spread and demand for the product increased, resulting in the birth of Save-A-Step Manufacturing, which ultimately became The Braun Corporation. The company, via the BraunAbility brand, offers the most diverse model lineup in the industry, including the most popular minivan models from Dodge/Chrysler, Honda, and Toyota. For more information about the Braun Corporation or our outstanding line of wheelchair vans and wheelchair lifts, please visit www.braunability.com.