Despite doctors telling Cherry, and her husband Andre, that ‘everything was normal’ during Cherry’s pregnancy, Stephanie was born with serious medical complications requiring her to be hospitalized for the first three months of her life.
At three months old, her parents were told that she had congenital heart disease, vision and hearing loss, seizure disorder, complex gastro-intestinal issues and food intolerances and would need to be on oxygen and a g-tube for feeding for the rest of her life.
In an instant their lives changed.
“We couldn’t understand it,” says Cherry. “They had told us everything was normal and then they were telling us there was no cure for Stephanie because her condition is so complex. It was devastating.”
Since then, Cherry and Andre have done the best they can but, with no family here, it’s been a struggle.
“It was so difficult. We had no support and we asked ourselves many times ‘Why is this happening?’ Financially it’s also very hard; there are so many expenses and things we need to buy.”
With the help of Easter Seals and others, Cherry and Andre now have the equipment Stephanie needs and were trained on how to care for her at home. Through the support of our donors, Easter Seals was able to help Stephanie get a walker, a bath chair and a ramp for the family’s van.
Although Stephanie can’t stand on her own, Cherry says she is the most happy when she is in her walker “walking on her own”.
Although people often stare at all of Stephanie’s equipment, Cherry and Andre like doing things with her in the community. “We just want to be a normal family. She loves being around other kids and moving with them in her walker,” explains Cherry.
Stephanie is now five years old but her condition is so fragile that whenever she is hospitalized Cherry and Andre fear this might be the last time they see her.
“We are very thankful for everyday with Stephanie. To all Easter Seals donors we would like to say thank you very much. You have improved Stephanie’s everyday life and our lives. We really appreciate everything you’ve done for our family.”