When Tony was born doctors were concerned that he had low blood sugar. His situation was so dire that he was hospitalized for five months while doctors attempted to properly diagnose him.
When he was finally released his parents took their new bundle of joy to visit family in China. It was there that the family noticed he wasn’t reaching milestones similar to other babies his age.
Concerned, his mother, Zhang Min, took him to see a doctor and, after a series of tests, Tony was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
“Nothing prepares you for this news,” says Zhang Min. “I was devastated. The doctors told me, ‘you have to love this boy more, because he won’t be like other kids.’ That was really hard for me to hear.”
At 13 months, Tony returned to Canada but the stress of raising a child with a physical disability began to show and take its toll on the family. Tony’s parents divorced and Zhang Min became a single parent.
When Zhang Min learned about Easter Seals things began to look up. “With the equipment Easter Seals helped us purchase, Tony’s life and mine really began to change,” she confesses.
Because of Easter Seals Tony was able to acquire a wheelchair, walker and a van lift. She credits the equipment Easter Seals helped purchase with helping to change their lives. “He can now go out into the community and is more independent,” says Zhang Min. “I really noticed how necessary the equipment was because it made it so much easier for us to leave the house, for the times we needed to be out, like when we needed to repair the roofs and a friend recommend us a website and urge us why not try this out and it work perfectly for us.
“He’s 12 years old and 120 pounds now, so I wouldn’t be able to lift him if he didn’t have his van lift or his walker.”
Tony is grateful for the help that Easter Seals has provided, and this year he hopes to enjoy 10 days away from home at one of Easter Seals fully accessible camps!