Variety KC received this touching letter from a determined and loving mom:
My son, Sam, was born at 31 weeks gestation. Shortly after his birth, his birth mother chose my husband and I to be Sam’s forever family. Sam grew and progressed in the NICU at Research Hospital as expected; he was strong, curious, happy, and full of cuddles. However, in the course of NICU protocol for children born before 32 weeks, Sam had a head ultrasound followed by an MRI that found he had an enlarged left ventricle caused by multiple strokes on the left hemisphere of his brain. The news was devastating, and we took Sam home not knowing what life would hold for this strong baby. We immediately began physical therapy from the Leanne Britain Center and constraint therapy at Ability KC. It soon became apparent that Sam would have increased weakness and abnormal tone on his right side, particularly in his right arm and right leg – making many typical activities challenging. Any activity that requires use of both sides of the body at the same time (i.e. walking, moving from sitting to standing, riding a bike, holding a paper to color, etc.) were and are difficult for Sam. Therapy thus far has focused on increasing the brain’s connection to his right arm and right leg, bearing weight through his right arm and leg, core strengthening for balance, and normalizing his gait pattern given the foot drop on his right side.
It is because of the foot drop in Sam’s right foot that we are writing to you today. When Sam’s walks, he hikes his right hip and swings his legs around to avoid tripping on his foot. This gait pattern is concerning because he is at risk for musculoskeletal abnormalities and injury, tripping and falling, and reinforcing a maladaptive pattern of gait in his brain as he grows. It additionally makes it difficult for him to do typical kid activities like climbing on the playground, running for sports, and keeping up with his peers. To this point, we have tried bracing, splinting, and Botox injections in combination with intense therapy to incourage dorsiflexion of his right foot when he walks, however, none of these methods have given us the desired response and Sam continues to drag his right toe during the swing phase of gait. During an appointment with his doctor, Dr. Katheryn Keeler recommended that we consider the Bioness Functional Electronic Stimulator. Sam was able to try it and saw immediate results. His right toe immediately began to clear and he was able to kick a ball and walk with a typical pattern for the first time in his life. He tolerated the electrical stimulation well and was determined to be a good candidate for this system.
Of course Variety KC partners want Sam to have the equipment he needs, especially with such encouraging outcomes! It’s amazing how one particular therapy can open so many possibilities! Help Variety KC to make mobility, communication, and inclusion possible for all kids! Donate today at varietykc.org/donate/