Imagine the excitement (and perhaps shock) of finding out you’re having triplets! Two boys and a girl—three blessings all at once. You ready the nursery, buy more diapers than you ever thought possible and anxiously await the day you get to hold your sweet bundles of joy for the first time.
Now imagine, shortly after giving birth, being told that one of your precious babes will never be like his brother and sister. He will never speak, never walk and his brain will never mature past the intellectual capability of a two year old.
Sweet Sullivan, pictured above at the age of six, was born with severe developmental delay in the form of cerebral palsy, spina bifida, scoliosis and lordosis. His mother and my dear friend, Alicia Wagnon, was told early on that Sullivan would be a vegetable, never able to sit, eat or even bring his hands together in front of his chest on his own.
Unwilling to accept the dire prognosis, Alicia took then three-year old Sullivan to a month-long, intense, non-invasive physical therapy program in Poland. Over the next few years, they made the trek eight times (you can view the touching video footage here, here and here) and at the end of the fifth month-long therapy session, Sullivan took his first steps. He eventually walked beyond the need of a wheelchair and now, at age 19, he ambulates all on his own. But his journey to independence is far from over.
Sullivan, who loves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and adores his sister Chandler and brother Peyton, requires 24/7/365 care with everything from feeding and dressing to communication and transportation.
With her daughter and other son off to college this past year, Alicia recognized the need for Sullivan to have his independence, too, but wanted more for him than the poor quality of life, dilapidated and unsafe nature of a typical group home.
Seeking to create a loving environment where Sullivan and other young adults with developmental disabilities can live independently, within a regular housing community, while receiving top-quality care and assistance, Alicia recently received an opportunity to do just that. She is in the process of purchasing a home, but must first modify it to suit Sullivan’s and the others’ needs.
Alicia is humbly seeking donations to help support the renovation cost of $35,000 and is nearly one-third of the way there. Eventually, she hopes to develop a non-profit organization and establish more homes like the one she’s creating for her sweet Sullivan. You can learn more and donate at https://www.gofundme.com/a-home-for-sullivan.
On behalf of Sullivan and Alicia, thank you for your gracious support!
S A D Y E E V Y N R E I S H