Meet the Kids: Zack

Zack

Twelve-year-old Zack is wheelchair dependent and nearly the same size as his single parent mother, his sole caregiver. His list of conditions and surgeries is long and you would wonder how he remains so happy and positive! His spinal surgery last August makes a power wheelchair necessary, but the family has no way to transport Zack safely in his chair. As a result, he has been housebound for nearly a year…all for lack of a Van Ramp. When Variety partners heard that, they opened their hearts and check books – and now Zack will have the ramp he so badly needs to get out and interact with his community again. Please help us to help other children like Zack, visit www.varietykc.org.

Meet the Kids: Benjamin

Benjamin

Benjamin is an explorer! Going on four, he is eager to be out and about, exploring his world and learning all he can. Diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and Dystonia, Benjamin needs AFO Braces to support him as he navigates his world. A Variety KC’s Kids on the Go grant will ensure that Benjamin continues on his adventures, gets the beneficial physical activity he needs, and has a way to get out and interact with friends. Help us make this possible for all kids with special needs, visit www.varietykc.org.

Meet the Kids: Jake

Jake

Jake is a resourceful young man that communicates by taking someone over to an item he wants or needs. Jake uses an iPad at school, with core words like “I want” or “yes and no.” There are also words relevant to his life and surroundings like “lounge” and “sour patch kids.” He is picking up vocabulary rapidly and having an iPad at home would help his overall progress and lessen the difficulty in communication. Variety supporters made an iPad possible for Jake – and earned a giant “Thank You!” Just a simple tool stands between a non-verbal child and a voice, won’t you help us help more kids like Jake? Email us at varietykc@gmail.com.

Meet the Kids: Xavier

Xavier

Put yourself in six-year-old Xavier’s shoes. As a toddler he did not speak as much as his sister, but he was verbal. At age three that stopped. It took time for an Autism diagnosis and he lost out on some early therapy, but he is working hard each day. His frustration sometimes leads to aggression, understandably so. With an iPad and apps, Xavier will have a way to communicate again. Variety donors provided him with the tools he needed to find his “voice.” Can there be any greater gift? Please join us in helping Variety kids like Xavier! Visit www.varietykc.org.

Meet the Kids: Carly

Carly

Carly squeezes the most out of life. On the severe side of the autism spectrum, she needs help with daily care and is mostly non-verbal – she is also unstoppable! Carly likes swimming, inline skating, taking walks and investigating her world. Last year her father passed away unexpectedly, making some expenses beyond reach. Variety learned that active Carly was enjoying the large adaptive bike at school and knew that having one at home would give her not only enjoyment, but important physical activity. So here you go Carly! You are off to the races with a bike of your own, thanks to generous Variety partners. Join us in making sure every kid has a chance to Be Active, Be Social, and Belong! www.varietykc.org.

A Thank You Letter from Charlotte’s Family

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. 

Katie & CharlotteThe 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!!