Tuesday, January 5, 2016

4 Paws for Luke

I grew up next door to my cousins, Matthew and Melissa. My Dad and their dad are identical twins and besides living next door in exactly the same house, they drove the same truck (different colors) and owned businesses together. The family joke was, if they are not together, they are on the phone with one another. Unfortunately, the cousins did not always follow example and get along.

Even today, I remember the anger for Matt when he crayoned our entire outside walkway. I think he was only 4 years old, but some things you never forget.

Years later, I was here in Charlotte when Matt and his wife Denise moved to Gaffney, SC. On a few occasions, I was able to put aside my anger over the crayon disaster and get together with them. We found out that as adults, we could be friends. Eventually they moved to Texas to start a physical therapy clinic. We have stayed in touch and have been a support for one another as parents of kids with special needs.

In 2011, when I started the eSpecially Parents Series, Denise shared her story about their son Luke. Denise is an inspiration to all mothers - she has sought out every possible treatment for Luke and has learned so much about ways to help him. I admire her strength and perseverance.

Recently she sent me this. Feel free to share with others - raising $15,000 will be a challenge, but one they can meet with help.


*** Over $15,000 was raised within 12 days of setting up this website.***

This is my son, Luke.  He is a cute little 7 year old boy who loves to ride horses, play at the park, and ride his Power Wheels.  We are grateful for his health and all the milestones he is meeting on his own timeline….some we thought he may not meet at all.    

Luke was born with a rare genetic condition called CHARGE syndrome which causes a wide range of challenges such as hearing loss, heart defects, developmental delays, sensory and balance issues.  Luke also was diagnosed with autism and struggles with things such as communication, socialization, and staying on task.

As his mother, I am always thinking of what to do to make sure Luke has the most fulfilling life possible.  In my research I came across an agency called 4 Paws for Ability in Xenia Ohio.  They place autism assistance dogs with kids like Luke.  These dogs can be trained to help manage behaviors by calming tantrums, disrupt stemming behaviors, prevent wandering, and can even be trained to locate the child who may have wandered off.   The dog can also provide companionship to a child, like Luke, who really struggles with socialization.  

Because of all this, these dogs require many months of specialized training that can cost over $22,000.  4 Paws for ability asks families to help raise a portion of this, $15,000, to qualify for an assistance dog.  I know an autism assistance dog would be great for Luke and I am so excited to begin this journey.

Please consider donating if you can and share Luke's page to help him bring his dog home.  

Thank you!

Denise Infanzon

Saturday, January 2, 2016

When Mom is Sick

This article is in the January 2016 issue of Charlotte Parent, Carolina Parent and Piedmont Parent- but get it here first:

And hoping you will not need the information in this article!