UPDATE as of Feb. 7,2019: As of Thursday, the GoFundMe account set up for Joel has received, additional donations, including two big anonymous ones for $15,000 and $5,000 — totaling $40,000 in large anonymous donations.
There’s a positive update to a story that aired on 8 News NOW about a boy named Joel and his adoptive mother, Paula. The I-Team first reported about how the system failed 10-year-old Joel on Monday.
Then on Tuesday, The I-Team reported on how a local prosecutor is trying to raise money for the family to get them a wheelchair accessible van.
Now, the I-Team wants to show 8 News NOW viewers how Las Vegas valley residents are stepping up to help Paula and Joel.
The GoFundMe account set up to raise money for the wheelchair accessible van has grown since our story aired Tuesday night. And a huge part of it is thanks to an anonymous donor who gave $20,000.
Paula Cheney adopted Joel after he was severely beaten twice while in the care of his biological parents. The first time, he was just 2-months-old. After the beating, Joel was placed in Paula’s home since she was a foster parent.
Joel was then placed back with his mother and beaten again.
But the second incident changed him forever. He became wheelchair bound, needing around the clock care. Paula decided to step in and adopted Joel and his older sister.
“My heart’s desire is to make sure that this little boy has the best opportunity and the best that life has to offer,” Paula Cheney said. “We as adults failed him the first time. We did.”
Joel’s biological mother, Alicia Corte, went to prison for child abuse. She is expected to be released this year, and then she may be deported.
The prosecutor on that case, Jacqueline Bluth has stayed in touch with the family, and she was the one who noticed they needed a wheelchair accessible van because Paula is 72, and Joel is 10-years-old and about 80 pounds. So Bluth started the GoFundMe with a goal of $65,000.
Ever since the story aired, 8 News NOW has heard from many viewers; some with outrage about how the system failed Joel, along with an appreciation for how Paula has dedicated her life to him.
Paula says she is so thankful for all of the support and generosity of everyone.