Meet Chance. He is eight years old and the best gift he received this holiday season was the ability to leave his home. Until recently Chance felt a bit like a prisoner. Why? His journey started at around 18 months when, as his mom Jennifer explained that Chance started missing some developmental milestones.
Jennifer and Eric, Chance’s father, took him to see a specialist and they were told that Chance was autistic. As they thought about this diagnosis and what it would mean for their son’s future, a random blood test resulted in an even scarier diagnosis – Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy.
This is a degenerative, incurable disease that leads to complete physical disability. As a young boy who was once able to walk around and play on his own, this disease stole Chance’s independence. He is nonverbal (but is learning to use a computer device to communicate) and he needs a wheelchair to get around. Between Chance’s weight and the weight of his wheelchair, it is impossible to get him out of the house for anything other than a walk around the block. When asked what she is most looking forward to this holiday season, Jennifer said “being able to get Chance out of the house.”
This year, their family will receive help from Easter Seals to purchase a van lift that will allow Chance and his wheelchair to get into their family vehicle. Jennifer could barely put into words what this meant for her family. “It’s the simplest things that will be better, I mean, we can’t go anywhere right now. When we do manage to get out of the house it’s in his push-chair, so he depends on me for everything.” With the van lift, Chance will be able to get out in his mechanical chair, so he will have a bit of independence; he’ll be able to keep up with kids at the park and go where he wants to go. It sounds so simple but when these basic things are taken away, you’ll do anything to get them back.
It is so difficult to understand the challenges faced by a family who are raising a child with a physical disability. According to Jennifer, one of the main battles (aside from seeing your child struggle) is financial. “I had to quit my job and we lost our house,” says Jennifer. “Chance needs 24/7 care so it was the only choice we had.” They have since moved into a home in a more affordable town and with help from charities and community members just like you, they’ve been able to make life more accessible for Chance.
The costs associated with a physical disability can be more than $40,000 a year. It’s simply too much for most families to handle. With your help, we can make the holidays a little brighter for other Easter Seals kids like Chance.
Please donate generously today.
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