Waynoka student

Waynoka residents are working to raise enough money to get fourth grader John Fipps a new wheelchair and communication device to replace outdated equipment. (Photo provided)

The Waynoka community is working to raise $15,000 for a new wheelchair, tablet and communications application for one of their fourth grade students.

Ten-year-old John Fipps is a technology wizard who loves school. Currently in fourth grade, Fipps makes straight A’s and can type whole paragraphs.

“He is very smart. He is probably smarter than we are,” said Fipps’ mother Amanda Redman

Redman’s son was born with Cerebral Palsy, having drowned in utero during a traumatic delivery. 

“He goes to regular school. He's in fourth grade in the regular classroom. He does the same work that everybody else does. He gets no special treatment at school,” Redman said. “He just has motor delay.”

Middle child of three in his family, Fipps is wheelchair bound and non-verbal. Fipps has grown out of his wheelchair. On top of all that, his chair has broken, according to Redman. Insurance won’t cover another right now.

“He will literally have to wait two and a half more years,” Redman said. “He is having go to school and sit in a broken chair because the back of his wheelchair literally breaks off every time I take it out of my car. The last couple days, he's had to kind of sit sideways in his chair. And it's really hurting his back and he has scoliosis. So I am trying to raise money to buy him a new chair. Because I don't want to rely on the insurance to tell me yes or no right now because I just can't wait. He can't wait.”

Fipps has been six years without a communication device. Though he communicates through sign language, not everyone in his new school understands. A tablet with a communications application can help him talk.

“He was really frustrated this year because he's at a new school, where people didn't know him. So a lot of people didn't understand him, so he got really frustrated,“ Redman shared.

The family moved from Cherokee to Waynoka about a year and a half ago.

“The community is supporting John and trying to help them the best that they can,” Redman said. “We had bake sales all weekend and those people were actually really nice. And they donated to help us out.”

“John is a blessing. John will tell you that he's been to heaven,” Redman said. “We believe in the power of prayer and we have put it in the Lord hands. He’s always taken care of John and he will continue to take care of John.”

Over the years, Fipps has overcome many difficulties, including learning to swallow food, which is a common struggle with Cerebral Palsy, according to Redman.

“He improves every day, things that he struggles with every day,” Redman said. “He loves to learn, like, he likes to, you know, expand his mind and put more knowledge in there.”

Although the community has been able to raise $3,000, they hope to meet the $15,000 goal by Wednesday, May 15, so the family can order the specialized wheelchair needed for Fipps to be mobile.

For more information, call Juli Bowen 405-833-7919 or email larissaconn@gmail.com.