3rd grader starts online campaign to get friend new wheelchair

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POWAY, Calif. -- An elementary school student started a GoFundMe campaign to help his friend get a new wheelchair.

Paul Burnett and Kamden Houshan have been best friends since kindergarten at Pomerado Elementary School and pretend to be superheroes during playtime. The two will begin 3rd grade this fall. At the end of June, Paul started a fundraising campaign for his friend.

"I'm just really grateful," said Kamden's mother, Yvonne Houshan. She choked back tears after learning Paul raised more than $4,000 to buy a new wheelchair for Kamden, who has had a lifelong spinal disorder.

"It was just a dream for us for him to get one," said Yvonne. "Who would have thought that this would have happened in two weeks? It was amazing!"

For years, Kamden had been rolling around the campus in a chair that was a major safety hazard. It frightened him and his friends, including Paul.

"He can't fit in the room with his chair," Paul said. "We just wanted to buy a new chair."

The chair was even more of a problem for Kamden at home.

"At home, he can't go into the restroom to wash his hands, " said Yvonne. "He can't go to the bathroom or go take a shower. The chair doesn't fit through the door."

After seeing a YouTube video about a GoFundMe campaign, Paul and his mom set one up to raise cash to buy Kamden a new chair.  The community quickly responded to the heartfelt effort and in 13 days, 58 people had contributed more than $4,000. The chair needed to meet Kamden's needs costs $3,900.

For the past few days, Kamden has been test-driving a demo version.

"I like this one because it fits better through the doorway," Kamden said. "And also, it helps me not kind of like fall on the ground."

Yvonne's eyes well up when she thinks about what Paul and his family have done for her child.

"I'm grateful to have them in my life. I really am. I know for sure this would not have happened without them," she said.

Kamden will continue to use the demo chair until his back surgery on August 23. After that, he will have the new one to use just in time for the start of the school year.

To donate to the campaign, click here.

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