Chris’s Evaluation and The Next Steps

Chris’s hand control evaluation went very well. The instructor, Brian, agreed  Chris  going full joystick is the best choice for Chris. He originally learned on a zero effort horizontal steering wheel and a gas and brake pac unit. EMC has a similar set up but after trying out both, the steering wheel and the joystick, the joystick worked better for him.

With him going to the joystick set up he will have to retake his Driver’s test. The state of PA treats the joystick as a different method of steering thus requiring the person to test as a different system (kind of like being required to take a test for a CDL license). This is a little bit of an unexpected twist to the original plan but that isn’t the biggest surprise. The biggest surprise is that we are going to have to go to Johnstown PA for driver’s training. It doesn’t matter which system he went with for EMC he would be required to retake the system training, however he will only have to retake the test for needing the Joystick.  This means around the beginning of the year we’ll be headed out there and staying for a week. Chris will probably doing 8-10 hours of driving a day to be certified on the system. It will just be Chris and I so it will be the first time we have been that distance away from the boys for that long! We’re looking at it as a little bit of a vacation even though there is definitely some work involved.








Right now we are waiting for the evaluation report to be sent and the training to be approved by OVR. Once they approve the training we’ll figure out the dates we’ll be headed out there. After the training we’ll then have to wait again for the approval to move forward on getting the truck so we can’t even get a truck before the new year.

That is where we are at for now stay tuned for more updates!

Chris Driving with mini wheel/ gas/brake Lever

Chris driving Full Joystick

It’s just a giant r/c car!

Here’s a video from the parent company Bolduc Technology Group (military contractor) that make the AEVIT system that will be installed in my truck. I’ll drive with a joystick instead of remotely but you get the idea. EMC-Digi is the one that handles the mobility end of their products.

What’s Next? OVR red tape hoopfest!

Plenty of people are curious as to where we go next with getting Chris’s truck. Here is a basic run down of what’s to come.

This week we turned in the OVR agreement of what is to happen in the process and turned paper work into the doctor to be filled out so Chris can be re-evaluated (first hoop of red tape) for what hand controls he needs. We are now waiting for OVR to contact us to set up that evaluation. Once that evaluation is completed we have 3 months to purchase a vehicle as that is the length of time the evaluation is good for before you have go around again. OVR then does a bidding process (second hoop of red tape) that we have to go through to determine which company we will work with for the full conversion.

The next step would be purchasing the truck. We’ll pick out/order the truck Chris wants and then it will be time for conversion. The truck will first be sent to Mobility SVM in Indiana to do the floor/lift to enable Chris’s chair to get in and out of the truck. It will then come back to PA.

Once back in PA the joystick hand controls (most likely an EMC joystick) will be put in. This is mainly the part that requires the bidding process since there are a few companies in PA that do hand control installs. We’re hoping to work with Ride-Away in Norristown. We’ve seen a good bit of their work and have been pleased with it.

After all the work is complete Chris will have to be evaluated on the vehicle again to make sure it is fitted well for him and he can drive it safely (third hoop of red tape). We then sign the contract stating he’s not eligible for another vehicle conversion for 10 years. That is one of the major reasons we chose a truck. The durability of a truck cannot be matched by a minivan and we like to get out there and use our vehicle quite a bit!

When all is said and done the truck will have probably $50,000 worth of equipment added to it! Easily making the vehicle worth around $100,000 even before Chris gets his hands on it!

Yep it will be worth more than our house!

We may still have 4-6 months before the truck is ready for Chris but we can’t wait to share the good news when Chris is driving himself!

It’s Official! Chris’s Drive For Independence Has Reached its Goal!


Thank you to everyone who made our very first car show a success! We may not have reached our goal but we are less than $1,000.00 away from our goal! We are still proceeding forward with getting Chris’s truck. It will still be a couple months until we are given the go ahead to get the truck by OVR so there is still an opportunity to get there.

Thank you to the food trucks and vendors who gave their support in our first year. You took a gamble on us! We can’t say thank you enough for being there to support us! Thank you to the vendors who came out to share the day with us. Thank you to all the car guys, including some of the Visual Reality Car Club, and three special Johns (John O., John Sheldon, and John Burch) that came out to support! Chris This event was about bringing the community out to help one of its own reach his dream!

The Upshift Summer Bash raised $1,209.00 leaving us just $800.00 shy of our goal. We thought we were proceeding forward without reaching it. That all changed this morning at 9:30am! I was expecting email from Ride-Away who was part of our event. Imagine my (Heather’s) surprise when I looked in my email and there was a donation the completed our goal and exceeded it! I just about hit the floor I was so shocked! Chris was sleeping and I woke him up with my hysterics! At least it was a great reason, right?

Thank you again to everyone who has helped us reach our goal! It was so much a community effort! It now puts us very close to Chris’s Dream of Driving. OVR paperwork is in the works and hopefully as long as all goes to plan we will have his truck in 4-6 months! Sooner is better than later but after a 10 year wait this will be nothing! What a way to celebrate Chris and I being together for 10 years! What an awesome gift and one we will never forget!!!

Ten Years of Love and the Upshift Summer Bash

Chris and I fell in love over cars. He is an avid car enthusiast with a passion for a well built engine. I fell in love with his determination and attitude that nothing will hold him back. He has taught me so much about life and to not give up on dreams!

Our relationship began 10 years ago on a trip to Norwalk, Ohio. It was for the Annual Buschur DSM shootout August 14 and 15th,2004. I was very much out of my comfort zone never going with a group of people that were basically strangers to me except for Chris. We enjoyed the car show and the races that weekend. It was one of the first car shows I had participated in getting Chris’s PT up to show quality. I fell in love with the entire culture that weekend. It was an amazing weekend for sure and is what started our relationship.

We were hoping later in 2004 Chris would have Pt Cruiser converted so he could but due to Pennsylvania paying for the conversion and the engineers not wanting to put in the research and development on the PT here we are 10 years later still working to get him a vehicle. We said at 10 years we would love to make it back out to Norwalk,Ohio but it looks like that isn’t happening. Instead, without even realizing it we scheduled the Upshift Summer Bash for the same Weekend as the Buschur shoot out and our 10 years of being together! This is our big event to wrap up fundraising for Chris! What a wonderful way to remember 10 years of love even if it wasn’t how we originally “planned” life to go. Hopefully just after our 10 year wedding anniversary in 3 years we’ll be able to make it out to the Shootout and renew our vows!

Upshift Summer Bash Press Release


*For Immediate Release*

Bring you cars! Bring your family! And don’t forget to come hungry! We are thrilled to announce our first annual Drive For Independence Upshift Summer Bash. This year’s event will be held at Leg Up Farm, 4880 N Sherman Street Ext, Mt Wolf, PA 17347, on Saturday August 16 from 10am-4pm. It is a car show, food truck and vendor event. There will be plenty of beautiful cars, several food trucks to tempt your taste buds, plenty of vendors to pique your interest, and DJ-T1 to keep the party going. The Upshift Summer Bash is a  fundraiser for Chris Sauerbaum and his need for a wheelchair accessible vehicle. He has had his driver’s license for 10 years now without a vehicle to drive. We are working towards a $10,000.00 down payment on a Mobility SVM Chevrolet Silverado. We are currently at $8,000.00 and hope to reach our goal with the Upshift Summer Bash.  Ride-Away Wheelchair Vehicles will be bringing a Mobility SVM vehicle to showcase what we are fundraising for.

Did someone mention food trucks?! Of course we did! We will have Bountiful Feast, Scoops Ice Cream and Grille, Smoothie King York, PA, Spectrum Farm to Truck, and Sophie’s Italian Ice to fill your bellies and cool you down. We also have vendors for all your shopping needs! Favorite direct sales companies and home crafters will be on hand to satisfy your shopping fun. The car show can accommodate up to 100 vehicles in the car show field. Cars, trucks and motor cycles are welcome. Pre-register your vehicle by visiting: Pre-registration is only $10.00 while the day of the show registration is $15.00.  We will have 1st-3rd custom trophies designed by Chris Sauerbaum, himself, for the show field that will be judged by your fellow car show participants. There will also be a People’s Choice voted on by the general public. Chris is definitely showcasing his graphic design abilities with this show. There will also be an event photographer on hand and you will be able to get a photo of your car at the event. Donations from photos will go to YAFCA,  a local community organization ( We will also have a silent auctions with items up for bid such as A York Revolution Prize pack that contains 4 ticket vouchers, SnS Croftgate car care items, $100 in free Web design, and massage gift certificates and many more! We will also have activities for the kids including the large barrier-free playground!

We hope to bring you this event bigger and better in the future as we turn our efforts to begin our 501(c) charity efforts with Drive For Independence. We would like to take everything we have learned fundraising for Christopher Sauerbaum’s Wheelchair accessible truck and help others in a similar situation needing accessible transportation for work. For more information please see or our Drive for Independence Facebook page To donate please see We can be reached at