New $90,000 van ‘opens doors’ for ambitious Vancouver Island University student – ​​Saanich News


Tagen Marshall can now ride in style, thanks to his new pal ‘Vinnie’.

Marshall, a young Parksville resident and student at Vancouver Island University, was thrilled this week to pick up his new car, a 2022 Toyota Sienna Hybrid.

The van, picked up Monday from Island Mobility in Victoria, will help open doors and achieve his many future goals, according to Marshall.

I was honored to have shared her story previously in this space. Marshall suffers from spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, which requires 24/7 care. He was born at 26 weeks, weighing just over two pounds. He did not leave the hospital until he was 2.5 months old.

Cerebral palsy means that his muscles will continue to tighten and contract all his life, leaving him in constant pain.

Yet he continues to lead by example for all of us with his positivity, quest to learn, and desire to help others.

‘Vinnie’ is short for ‘Vincent Van Gogh’ (“see what we did there?” joked Marshall). The final price was just north of $90,000, and the purchase was made possible through the hard work of Marshall’s inner circle, as well as the generosity of others via fundraising.

“It was like running a marathon to get this,” said Marshall, who used an old pickup truck that needed major repairs.

“This van purchase is the culmination of so many people coming together to invest in me as an individual, to invest in my future goals. It means the world, it opens doors.

Marshall is studying philosophy at VIU, with the goal of completing a doctorate and becoming a teacher.

He said the van would make it much easier to attend college on campus.

“And with high gas prices, the hybrid feature makes driving longer distances for family road trips much more feasible,” Marshall said. “And it’s so nice to have a functional ramp again. Come in, go and do things. Even just for weekly daily groceries, being able to take advantage of it is nice.

Marshall said the old van would be sold.

“We are working to fix it and will resell it and whatever we get from it will go into an account for the next fundraiser,” he said. “A new fund for wheelchairs.”

Marshall reiterated his gratitude for everyone who donated to his cause.

“First of all, I know these words may sound like standard fare, but thank you for choosing to be part of this initiative, for choosing to be part of my team,” he said. “I met some of you and spoke with. Others gave anonymously. For everyone, near or far, it means a lot to see the power of community. Giving of your hard-spent time and helping me give back to the community I love means so much.

Vancouver Island Free Daily/PQB News editor Philip Wolf can be reached at 250-905-0029 or

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