Adelaide (Addie) was born premature, at 26 weeks, and had a severe brain bleed within her first week of life. She was later diagnosed with cerebral palsy and a seizure disorder. The need: Addie is wheelchair dependent and a handicap accessible van would allow our family to continue going out in the community together and help Addie get to/from her medical appointments and therapies safely. Read her amazing story as told by her mom:
“Our family has grown rapidly in the last six years…we are a busy family of six, including an almost 8-year-old, two 6-year-olds, and a 5-year-old. In 2012, they adopted their eldest son, Stevie, through the foster care system. The week after we finalized his adoption, we received a shocking call from the state. His biological mother had just given birth to twins. They were born premature at 26 weeks and weighed less than 4 pounds combined. They had no names and their future was uncertain. We started visiting these tiny humans in the NICU. “Baby girl” was bigger than her brother, as she weighed a fierce 2 lbs., 1 oz. Sadly, she had a severe brain bleed within the first week of life, which resulted in hydrocephalus and the need for a shunt. Thankfully, she proved to be a FIGHTER. In December 2012, while the twins were still in the hospital, we found out I was pregnant. We had tried for years, so the timing was interesting to say the least. In January 2013, we got to bring the twins home as foster placements. We were so nervous, as Stevie was not quite two, “baby boy” was on oxygen, “baby girl” had a scary incision on her head, and I was pregnant. By God’s grace the kids thrived and we, the parents, somehow survived. In May 2013, we were blessed by finalizing the twins’ adoptions. They officially had the names they so deserved, Drake Joseph McDonald and Adelaide (Addie) Harper McDonald. Then little sister, Piper Quinn, joined the crew in August. Shortly after Piper was born, Addie started having infantile spasms, a type of seizure disorder. This was so heartbreaking, because she had already been through so much.
The next few months and years were a whirlwind. Addie has had 15+ surgeries in her six years of life. She was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and is wheelchair dependent. Despite these difficulties, she is the happiest little girl and so loved by her family (and everyone else who meets her). She is mostly non-verbal, but still more funny and ornery than you can imagine. Addie is a JOY and continues to amaze as she progresses and learns new things. However, as she continues to grow, we face new challenges. This girl that could once be held in one hand, is getting harder to lift safely. We are in the process of adapting our home and could use help raising money for a handicap accessible van. The cost of adapting a vehicle is expensive and not covered by insurance. Having a van like this will allow us to continue going to community activities as a family and to get Addie to/from her appointments and therapies safely. I have gone part-time at my job, in order to take Addie to her many appointments and be with her and the other kids before/after school. This loss of income has been hard, due to our already tight budget and financial obligations. We currently cannot afford to convert a van on our own. Any help will be so appreciated!”
Addie’s family has an abundance of love and is so dedicated to their kiddos and the special needs they face. Their optimism is so impressive and Variety KC partners were eager to help them! If you’re moved to help Addie’s family and others like them – please donate today – www.varietykc.org/donate/
Everybody is different – when you look at Zach, you see the difference. He is 17-years old and 47 inches tall, about the same height as an average 2nd grader. His head and trunk are the same size as an average teen, but his arms and legs are short.
People stare, point, take pictures, but he understands he looks different. Zach knows that someone did not teach them not to make fun of someone who looks different. So, he educates. He goes to different schools and teaches kids that it is okay to be different. That everyone deserves to be included, regardless of size of whatever their difference is. Once you get past his size, you see how awesome he is.
Zach has enough obstacles to overcome in life. He has to fit in a world not made for short people. Whether it be public restrooms, ATMs, fast food counters, he has to adjust. We just want to try and make his life a little easier to participate with all kids his age. He leaves a positive image where ever he goes. He doesn’t want to remembered for his size, he likes to meet people, educate, get them used to seeing that everyone is different but that everyone is also the same. Zach believes that his success will not be based on his height and that his height will not define him. He wants kids and adults, to think about what they are going to say before they say it. Will it hurt, do you want it said to you, do you want to be treated that way?
To help Zach keep up with his peers, Variety KC provided a mini-Segway to enhance his mobility. It helps him get from the locker room to the football field quickly (he’s the manager for his high school team). It will be also be important for his use on campus next year! V
Help us to help other inclusion warriors like Zach! Donate today at www.VarietyKC.org!
When is a bike, not a bike? When it goes beyond the joy of riding and helps a young lady named Pholet, gain strength, increase range of motion, help with coordination, and improve her gait pattern and balance. But to Pholet, it’s the adaptive bike that will allow her to be outside playing with the neighborhood kids she sees through the window.
Variety partners, donors and sponsors know that the gift of mobility is also a gift of health. To join this generous team of caring Variety supporters, visit www.varietykc.org
When Variety KC received this request, we knew we had to help!
“I write this as an existing member of the Variety KC “family’ so I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt what inclusion means for us and our son, Jackson as well as how Variety has impacted our life. Jackson was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder as his primary diagnosis. It didn’t take us long to realize when he reached school age that he was incredibly behind his peers. As he aged, the gap grew worse. Slowly but surely he was excluded from birthday parties, sporting events, playground games and being invited over to friends’ houses to play. Jackson is mainly affected by Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), SPD affects his vestibular system (sense of balance and proprioception (where your body is in space)…and it causes low muscle tone. All of this combined makes the act of balancing on an upright, two-wheeled bike next to impossible for him. Jackson loves playing outside with his friends in the neighborhood or just going for a bike ride with us as a family or on his own. This ability has been lost for him the past year as he has outgrown his trike now that he is almost 6 feet tall! We’re back to watching him being left out of activities with friends because he’s not mobile without his bike. Walking is tiring for Jackson so often times he prefers to ride his bike while others walk. Bike riding also strengthens his core strength and improves his gross motor skills so it’s therapy in motion!”
When something as simple as a bike can mean the difference between being included and being excluded – Variety KC donors always step in. Help us to make sure every kid has a chance to Be Active, Be Social, and BELONG! Donate today: https://varietykc.org/donate/