Anna and Rico first noticed their son Jakob was different when he was about eight months old. His joints started to get stiff, his arm movements were spastic and his ability to stand or sit up simply disappeared. It’s an awful shock to learn that something might be wrong with your child but the diagnosis Anna and Rico received after years of analysis was beyond anything they had imagined. Their son Jakob was diagnosed with Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia Type 3A. This means Jakob will never be able to walk independently; he will never be able to care for himself or support himself. He will be dependent on an adult for all tasks his entire life. He requires special equipment for almost everything he does and his disease is progressive, meaning as Anna says, “it’s only downhill for us.”
Do not take this comment from Anna to mean that they are ‘glass half empty’ kind of people. Just the opposite! Anna and Rico both agree that they were taken aback when they learned of their son’s condition. It did not take long, however, to simply focus on “making Jakob’s life as ‘normal’ and as comfortable as possible.” They set to work right away. Taking Jakob to physio, occupational, massage and speech therapies, joining community groups and learning there was somewhere like Easter Seals to turn to for help. When they obtained funding for necessary equipment, like Jakob’s bathroom commode chair and a lift for their van, Anna and Rico’s lives were forever changed. They saw a new level of independence in their son and an even greater wave of optimism washed over their lives. They both agree that “Jakob can do anything that other kids can do. He just needs to find different ways of doing it.”
Finding those different ways of doing things is where our donors come into play. It’s people like YOU who generously support Easter Seals that make expensive adaptive equipment purchases possible for families like Jakob’s. Without his van lift, Anna would continue to aggravate her back injury by lifting her son and his wheelchair into their vehicle. Without an adaptive bathroom seat Jakob would have less dignity and independence in his daily life.
When asked what Easter Seals means to them Anna and Rico didn’t know what to say. “How can we put it into words? These are things our son uses multiple times a day. The commode chair, for example, is not just ‘nice’; he needs it. He needs to go to the bathroom like anyone else. How can we explain how much that means to us? The amount it helps is impossible to describe.”
Easter Seals families deal with so many personal battles and unknowns: Will my child make friends despite being different? Will my child succeed? How long will my child live? On top of all these questions most families also struggle financially. Families with a child with a physical disability can spend more than $40,000 a year on equipment alone. With donations from people like you, Easter Seals is able to alleviate some of their financial stress by helping them purchase necessary and expensive equipment that makes life somewhat more manageable.
While Anna and Rico cannot put the amount of help they have received into words, you can choose an amount that you are comfortable giving. Your donation will help kids like Jakob get life-changing equipment and make a difference for Easter Seals families.
Please, donate today and help kids BE KIDS!