A New Porch Lift Helps Hunter Start his School Day with Confidence and Independence
Hunter is bursting with creativity. He loves singing, telling jokes, reading, and sharing stories during circle time at school. Like most seven-year-olds, Hunter is working hard to get ready to begin Grade Two. But for Hunter, twelve very steep steps stood in his way of getting to school safely.
Stairs present more of a challenge for Hunter than most other kids his age. Hunter has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair to get around. To get him onto the school bus each morning, his parents had to carry both Hunter and his wheelchair down the stairs outside of their front door. “Which is very dangerous,” his mom, Leanne, explains, “especially when it is snowing out.”
Hunter and his family, though, are a resilient bunch who have overcome difficult challenges in the past. Hunter himself was born two and a half months early. He spent the very first few months of his life in the NICU. His mom and dad, two brand new parents, waited nervously for the all-clear to take Hunter home. But an ultrasound revealed devastating news – their little boy was experiencing a brain bleed.
For Hunter, this condition has resulted in spastic triplegia – which means he has difficulty controlling his legs, his left hand and his core.
After many stressful weeks in the hospital by Hunter’s side, his parents were finally allowed to take him home. Hunter, however, was not fully in the clear; the brain bleed led to a diagnosis of cerebral palsy before he was even two years old. For Hunter, this condition has resulted in spastic triplegia – which means he has difficulty controlling his legs, his left hand and his core. He wears a TheraTog, similar to a girdle, every day to help keep his body from swaying.
Hunter, though, does not let much stand in his way. He has a creative mind and is determined to use it whenever he can. Whether he is singing his heart out into his karaoke machine or creating a new story to share with his class, it is clear that Hunter has been gifted a brilliant imagination. And Hunter, like any child, deserves the opportunity to learn and to develop his talents by attending school with his peers.
Thankfully, Hunter’s parents applied to Easter Seals for funding to help cover the costs of the lift. And through the generous support of our donors, their request was approved.
“He is always very excited to learn and do new things,” Leanne tells us. Most recently, as part of his preparation for grade one, Hunter is practicing using a slanted training cup which will allow him to drink by himself throughout the day. “He is working on it at school, and he is doing quite well,” Leanne says.
In addition to drinking on his own, Hunter has started to practice using a walker. But to travel the long distances required at school, Hunter still needs to be in his wheelchair to get through the day. So, the twelve steep steps in front of the only entrance to his house were quickly becoming a barrier for Hunter. His parents wanted to have a porch lift installed, but these are expensive pieces of equipment and cost his family $11,000 to have installed.
Thankfully, Hunter’s parents applied to Easter Seals for funding to help cover the cost of the lift. And through the generous support of our donors, their request was approved, and Hunter’s porch lift was installed. “This not only helps Hunter, but also his caregivers,” Leanne explains. “It was treacherous on snow days and with ice buildup on the stairs … now we can get Hunter ready and secure in his chair in the house. We then can wheel him across the deck to the lift with ease and no worries of anyone falling or getting hurt. It also gives him a sense of independence that eventually when he is old enough, he will be able to do this on his own.”
Without the funding we would not have been able to afford it on our own and would have had to continue carrying both him and the wheelchair up and down the stairs.
To Easter Seals donors, Leanne says “We cannot express our gratitude enough for the funding we received for the purchase of this lift. Without the funding, we would not have been able to afford it on our own and would have had to continue carrying both him and the wheelchair up and down the stairs. It was a real safety concern, and we are so grateful to know that our son is safe when he needs to get to and from the bus to school … Keep doing what you are doing. It is making a huge impact on people’s lives like ourselves.”
By donating to Easter Seals, you have helped to transform the daily life of both Hunter and his family. With his new porch lift, Hunter can begin each school day safely and with a sense of confidence and independence that will help him to achieve his dreams. Thank you for your support!