Hi, My name is Katie Ireland and this is my daughter Charlotte. Charlotte falls into the category of special needs although we still lack an official diagnosis. The last two years have been full of painful genetic blood tests, an MRI, an EKG, an EEG, an EMG and a muscle biopsy – all without official results. All we really know is that she has severe low muscle tone and global developmental delays.
The last two years have also been jam-packed with therapy and doctors’ appointments and even a therapeutic preschool. It has been rough. With very few silver linings.
One positive change we have had in our family is adding a baby brother for Charlotte. He is now 1 and is a ball of energy and shows no signs of whatever is causing our Charlotte to be delayed. As Max has grown, my husband and I really started noticing how little Charlotte is able to do with her brother and her peers. It has seemed like almost every toy and almost every park was made with only average needs kids in mind. We were beginning to be feel depressed and closed off.
But something amazing happened. Our physical therapist at her preschool told us about the Go Baby Go! cars and she suggested we apply. Honestly I thought it was a long shot. But clearly, I did not know Variety yet. I filled out the application and a few weeks later I received a phone call from Deborah. And when I say she was excited to share the good news, that is a big understatement. She was ecstatic to be able to give our little family such an incredible gift and her excitement was felt tenfold in my husband and I. They, Variety Club and Rockhurst were going to personally adapt a car for our Charlotte. She was INCLUDED!! And not just her – 19 other toddlers were going to feel the same inclusion.
A couple weeks later, we attended the Variety Club Halloween Party, and from that moment on I knew that we had found our silver lining! The next weekend was the build and we experienced pure pride as we watched our little “developmentally delayed” child drive that car with ease. And the smile on her face was worth the 2 years of tests and therapies and unknowns. Not only that, we were able to deliver a go baby go car to Charlotte’s best friend Mason who is also severely low tone but had a benefit in his honor on the day of the build. It was incredible. His parents and my husband and I were in tears at the gifts we had been given.
Although my husband isn’t here today, I know he would join me in saying a BIG THANK YOU to all of you that contribute to Variety. YOU make inclusion happen for our children and you make life a whole lot happier for the children and their parents. Thank you!!