HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island community is rallying around a Hempstead family and raising money to buy them a much-needed wheelchair accessible van.

The family’s two children are living with rare health conditions, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Thursday.

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Paul Navarro Jr. and his sister Adryana have the same, rare brain condition. Combined, the Long Island siblings have been through nearly 100 surgeries. (credit: CBS2)

Paul Navarro Jr. has made it through 73 surgeries. His 10-year-old sister Adryana has had 19.

Spina bifida is like, I’m not able to walk. I have limited mobility in my legs,” Adryana said.

Paul can stand for a limited time, but they both live with hydrocephalus.

“Hydrocephalus is a build up of fluid in the brain,” Paul Jr. explained.

Wheelchairs don’t hold the siblings back from sports of all kind.

Both are stellar students in the Honor Society at the Viscardi School, and Paul Jr. is college-bound.

“I plan to go to Farmingdale to study global business,” he said.

Paul begins as a commuter student at Farmingdale State in September.

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“I would like to become a teacher because I love kids,” Adryana said.

“They are truly amazing. We call them our heroes,” Karen Navarro, their mother, said.

“They’re extremely brave for what they’ve been through, all the surgeries, the hospital stays. They don’t complain,” said their father Paul Navarro Sr.

Lifting their children safely into the vehicle is a constant struggle for parents Karen and Paul Sr, who drive them to and from school.

“The most difficult part is getting in and out of the car. I have been dropped multiple times,” Adryana told McLogan.

The community joined the parents’ initiative to raise funds for a wheelchair accessible van. They are almost halfway to their goal.

“We desperately need a van that will help us just fit our chairs into and not have to struggle lifting my sister and I up,” Paul Jr. said.

“I want to be able to go out and be like a normal kid,” said Adryana.

“We just want the best for our children. I pray every night,” said Navarro Sr.

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The children believe they’re blessed to live in such a loving home, hoping their goals of college and future success will eventually ease their parents’ financial burden.

Jennifer McLogan