Merrill family hopes to raise money to purchase wheelchair accessible van to transport Payten, 8

Fundraiser garage sale planned for April 8 in Queen Creek

The Merrill family. (Special to the Independent/Kimberly Merrill)

Queen Creek parents Joseph and Kimberly Merrill are counting on a golf tournament to help them buy a wheelchair accessible van for their young daughter.

Registration is still being accepted for the Play for Payten Adrenaline 18 charity golf event. It will take place Monday, April 10, at Talking Stick Resort, 9800 Talking Stick Way in Scottsdale.

Payten is the Merrills’ 8-year-old daughter. She suffers from a rare genetic disorder called Coffin Siris Syndrome, which causes a multitude of issues ranging from cognitive, medical and physical complications, Mrs. Merrill said in a letter promoting the golf tournament.

“Due to these complications, CSS is a life-limiting disease. CSS has caused Payten to be extremely cognitively delayed, developmentally delayed and medically fragile,” Mrs. Merrill wrote. “She may be the average or slightly above average size of a typical 8-year-old, but cognitively and developmentally, she is that of an infant. Payten is not able to walk and is dependent on Joseph and me to meet her every need. As Payten continues to grow, Joseph and my ability to lift her in or out of our vehicle decreases and it is becoming less and less safe for us to lift her and her wheelchair.”

In addition, a fundraising garage sale is planned for 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, April 8, in Queen Creek. Payten’s nurse has donated the use of her home at 20504 E. Riggs Road, just east of Horseshoe Park and Equestrian Centre, Payten’s grandfather, Randy Greene, said during a phone interview.

He said people may drop off donations to the home anytime between now and the garage sale.

Money raised from the golf tournament will be used to purchase a wheelchair accessible van, something the Merrills’ insurance does not cover and the family cannot afford on their own, Mrs. Merrill wrote.

The Merrills are working through the Go*Vets Foundation, a tax-exempt 501(c)3 charitable organization that has partnered with Caritas Fundraising to raise money for veterans and their family members through a hole-in-one golf tournament.

The foundation is helping the Merrill family because Payten is the niece of Lincoln Crandall, a decorated U.S. Army and U.S. Navy veteran, according to a press release.

The Adrenaline 18-18 Shots of Adrenaline golf event allows the participants to win prizes if they are lucky or skilled enough to make a hole-in-one. The primary goal of the tournament is to raise funds and awareness in support of the foundation’s mission: create jobs, provide scholarships and assist veterans in starting a business of their own.

Every hole is a par 3 that carries the possibility of getting a hole-in-one.

There is no entry fee to participate in the tournament. However, golfers are required to seek individual sponsorships from friends, family members, business partners and others they know to support Payten. A fundraising minimum of $1,000 is required to participate, according to the release.

Participants will set up an online page on which to track their pledges.

Prizes will be awarded for various levels of pledges. People who raise $1,000-$1,999 will receive a $100 gift card to Amazon, American Express, Apple, Best Buy, Costco or Troon Golf. The value of the gift card increases as the total amount of pledges increases.

Mr. Greene hopes people will consider joining in the family’s fundraising efforts.

“Kimmy loads (Payten) into their car every week, but it has gotten to a point where they need to find something where it’s easier to get her into their vehicle,” Mr. Greene, who lives with his wife, Carolyn in Queen Creek’s Hastings Farms community, said during a phone interview. It’s a great event, but it’s very hard to get others motivated to raise money. We stayed away from gofundme.com because the money is taxable. We’ve raised $10,000, but we need $50,000. “We know there is a lot going on in people’s lives, but we just keep trying,” said Mr. Greene, who received training in order to help take care of Payten.

To become a player, sponsor or donate, e-mail Mr. Greene at rgreene@govetsfoundation.org.

For more information about the fundraising organizations, visit www.caritasfundraising.com or www.govetsfoundation.org.

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