Family left ‘speechless’ by community support |

Family left ‘speechless’ by community support

Wendy Hayward, right, stands with her daughter, Lacy Hayward, in the wheelchair.
John Hart/ | The Union

Over the course of two months, vehicle accidents created enormous hardship for a Nevada County family, but they also proved the power of friendship.

On Nov. 4, Wendy Hayward was driving on Highway 49 when someone pulled out in front of her.

Hayward’s car was totaled.

“All I could think about was not hitting the driver’s side door,” she said. “I was able to get just far enough over to not hit the other driver.”

Hayward’s thoughts during the accident align perfectly with the way she lives her life, working in the service of others.

Before the accident, Hayward worked at a transitional facility for mental rehabilitation and as a case manager for a client suffering from multiple physical and mental problems.

Hayward also has a daughter, Lacy, who has spina bifida and requires special attention from Hayward and her husband, Adam Hayward.

“I take care of my daughter,” Hayward said, her fingers intertwined with Lacy’s, as the two held hands during a Sunday afternoon interview at their church in Grass Valley.

Since the accident, Hayward has been unable to return to her work outside of the home.

“I’m in pain all the time,” she said. “Exhaustion from pain is another problem … I was excited to be able to do a load of laundry.”

“She was really excited about the laundry,” chimed in Lacy, who enjoys art and crocheting baby hats and snuggle sacks.

Double trouble

A little more than a month prior to Wendy’s car accident, Adam was rear-ended in Auburn, totaling his vehicle.

Adam owns Grass Valley Computer Repair, a mobile computer repair and web-building business.

Both accidents were considered no-fault. Due to the age of the Haywards’ vehicles, the insurance claims yielded $2,000 for each vehicle.

The Haywards have struggled to find replacement vehicles suitable to their needs that fit within their budget.

Because of Lacy’s condition, both vehicles need to have enough interior space for a fully assembled wheelchair and be low enough that the wheelchair can be lifted into the vehicle.

A station wagon or small SUV would be perfect, Wendy Hayward said, adding, “I can’t lift very high, especially now.”

Since the accidents, the couple has been using rental vehicles and searching for appropriate, reliable vehicles to purchase.

A friend of the Haywards, Judy Ludlum, heard about their dilemma and decided to step forward.

“She told me both vehicles were totaled,” Ludlum said. “I thought, ‘There’s gotta be something I can do.’”

Ludlum set up the Hayward Joy Ride Fund on with the hope of raising an additional $8,000 toward vehicles for the Hayward family.

“I wanted to reach out to her other friends, do a fundraiser and see what we can do,” she said.

“She is helpful in the community and works so hard,” Ludlum said of Wendy Hayward. “I was happy to do my part in getting the ball rolling.”

“$4,000 will not go very far,” Ludlum said. “The main thing is reliability; they take Lacy to a specialist in Sacramento every month.”

Upon finding out about the Hayward Joy Ride Fund, Hayward said she was stunned.

“I didn’t know how to feel,” Hayward said. “Those are the things I do; I’m not used to being the recipient.

“It was one of the few times in my life I have been speechless.”

Hayward, who spends her free time using her musical talents to serve her church, said she was overwhelmed and humbled at how much support she is receiving from people.

“I never underestimate what God does in my life,” Hayward said.

Visit to donate or view the progress toward the $8,000 goal.

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