MIAMI (WSVN) - Family, friends, hospital staff and community members joined forces Tuesday at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital to create a heartwarming surprise for a young patient, just in time for the upcoming school year.

In 2021, social media influencer Shannon Decker crossed paths with Nico, a 9-year-old boy grappling with a degenerative muscular condition, during a visit to Miami. Touched by Nico’s story, Decker collaborated with Nicklaus Children’s Hospital to initiate a campaign for her birthday, rallying her network to raise $20,000 towards a new wheelchair-accessible van.

“This family is so deserving,” said Decker. “This van is truly going to change his life and open up his world.”

Nico was diagnosed with SMA Type 2, requiring either a power chair or manual wheelchair for mobility. His family’s current vehicle restricts Nico from leaving their home due to the power chair’s dimensions.

“Before I had the van I went to school with a van you have to pay for every day, and now I can go in this chair whenever I want,” said Nico.

This donation not only elevates Nico’s quality of life but also empowers him to embrace new experiences and destinations. Soon, Nico will return to school. However, this time, he will disembark from his new van independently, with his father driving, allowing him to concentrate on the upcoming school year.

“I’m looking forward to great things,” said Nico. “Like good classes, a good teacher and I can learn a lot more.”

Local organizations, including The Woody Foundation, which is dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals with paralysis, extended their support to the cause. The Zamora family, affiliated with The Woody Foundation, donated a van as a tribute to their son Arturo “Cowboy” Zamora, preserving his memory and legacy. The $20,000 from community donations went toward van upgrades, maintenance and other expenses.

To learn more about Nico, click here.

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