Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garçon helps raise money for Centreville High student with cerebral palsy
Updated: September 4, 2014 - 12:18 am
ARLINGTON, Va. (WJLA) - A Northern Virginia teen with cerebral palsy received help from a Washington Redskin Tuesday night—for the second time.
Juwaan Espinal's family is trying to raise money to buy a specialized van, so they can drive him around without having to take him out of his wheelchair.
On Tuesday night, Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garçon helped them do it.
Fans lined up outside a Paisano's Pizza on Pershing Drive in Arlington to see Garçon. Each fan paid $25 to meet him, with the money going to help the Espinal family.
Juwaan Espinal loves the Redskins, and this wasn't the first time he'd met a star player.
In May, quarterback Robert Griffin III came out to help Juwaan's Centreville High School classmate Morgan Assel ask him to the prom. Juwaan said yes.
Although Juwaan is able to go to things like the prom, school and football games, his family says there are many places he can't go, because the only way they have to transport him is a sedan with a car seat in the back.
"The car seat isn't that good for him … at all," said his sister, Shanelle.
Juwaan's mother, Ibis, says as he has grown, getting him in the car seat has become increasingly difficult, and if she doesn't put him in the right way, he could get hurt. As a result, it's tough to take him places very often.
"Juwaan, in the past few years, hasn't really been able to really go out and go to the grocery store like you and I would be able to," Ibis Espinal said. "We just show him pictures of what he would like in the grocery list and he'll pick. That's sad, isn't it?"
In addition to Tuesday's fundraiser, until Aug. 31 Paisano's says it will donate money to help buy the van if customers mention Juwaan's name.
"We'll guarantee it's going to happen," Garçon said of the van Tuesday night. "It's all about just helping, making somebody else's life a little bit easier. It's better than scoring a touchdown [or] playing football, just seeing someone happy and making them have a better day."
On Wednesday, Sept. 3, Paisano's announced the fundraiser had surpassed its $20,000 goal.