BOISE, Idaho — Cecile Atimango is a graduate of Borah High School and a young mother of a two-year-old girl.
She came to Boise several years ago with her family from Bunia, a city in the Ituri Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Adjusting to living in the Treasure Valley took some time, but she did it! She's now working full time, and focusing on raising her daughter. She'll be the first to tell you, it's not easy. Cecile uses a wheelchair. She lost her ability to walk when she was just 8-years-old.
"It's really hard, just really tough for me to get around," said Atimango. "I found a job and it started to get more difficult. Sometimes, if the bus leaves me before I get to it, there is no way I can get to work on time."
Atimango doesn't have a vehicle and relies on public transportation. She says her chair often gets stuck in the snow.
"There was a time I waited 20 minutes, waiting for someone to pass by me and ask for help, and push me to the bus station," Atimango said. "With the baby, it is tough, both in the wintertime and the summertime. One day I was taking her for her doctor's checkup. The bus stopped quickly and she fell out of my hands, and she hit her head. That's the day it entered into my heart, I have to do something."
Cecile wanted to learn to drive and buy an adapted van. She found one, but the price was out of her reach.
"I was like how is this going to work for me? I need to find a way."
She started saving her money and got some help to create a Go Fund Me page. Friends shared it for her, and she was amazed watching the donations rise.
"I started getting excited when it got to like 50 dollars and then it started going more and more," said Atimango with a smile. "I was also saving myself. After I paid my bills, I put whatever I had in my hand in savings. I didn't want to buy anything for myself."
Local real estate agent and former Boise State basketball star Matt Bauscher and his team heard about Cecile's touching story.
"From the waist down, she's not able to walk, she's in a wheelchair. She's a single mom and she's trying to juggle so many different things. The weather was cold, and she was trying to take the bus with her wheelchair and her daughter," Bauscher told KTVB. "The whole team looked around and said 'how can we help?'"
Atimango still needed six thousand dollars to reach her goal. Matt Bauscher and his team were more than happy to take care of that! When Cecile heard that Bauscher and his staff were going to donate the money she needed, she couldn't believe it.
"When I got $6000 from the Bauscher team, I lost my mind, I was like 'what a miracle!'" Atimango said.
The Bauscher Team presented her with the van, outfitted just for her and her chair, at Access Vans in Meridian. She was blown away.
"I am so grateful for this. I just want God to bless every person who supported me to get this van today," said Atimango through tears.
"Ceci is the inspiring one," said Bauscher. "It's not us, it's Ceci. It's her heroic work ethic, her perseverance that inspires us. We all look around and say what do we have to complain about? We are so blessed, whatever we could do to help an amazing person like Ceci, we wanted to be a part of that."
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