This is my great nephew’s story as told by his Dad, Gary Stepp.
“On August 5, 2003 Garin Isaiah Stepp was born. Garin’s brother, Hilton turned four years old 21 days after Garin’s birth and since that time they have become not only loving brothers, but also very best friends.
Since birth, Garin has been full of life and expression. All siblings develop at different stages, however there were numerous times that his Mom, Rebekah expressed concern regarding Garin’s delay in talking and walking, especially as compared to Hilton. The talking certainly came in time and it seems that Garin has not closed his mouth too often since then!
We continued to observe abnormalities with his walking, however it was not until Rebekah once again questioned his pediatrician following his four-year-old medical examination that we realized there might be a problem. His pediatrician expressed concern regarding the manner in which he walked as well as the over-development of his calf muscles. The irony is that most people’s first comment was on Garin’s beautiful blonde, curly hair then, many commented on his beautiful legs. We admired his handsomely firm and muscular legs for some time; however, on August 23, 2007, shortly after this fourth birthday, we learned that the legs we admired represented a very serious problem. It was on this day that we met with a specialist for a blood evaluation to determine whether he possibly had some form of a muscle disease. The specialist scheduled an appointment to meet with us in two weeks to discuss the results; however, the following day we received a call informing us that the muscle enzymes were so highly elevated that they wanted another test on the following Monday to ensure that the results were accurate. We waited anxiously during the weekend in hopes that the second test would render a different result; however, the second test revealed the same results and the blood was sent for further testing to confirm whether the disease was Muscular Dystrophy (MD). On September 14 we received news that no parent wants to hear, Garin tested positive for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, the most vicious muscle disease.
For several weeks we merely knew that his problem had a name, however on that day reality hit and the realization that Garin had a debilitating muscle disease was agonizing.
We trust that Garin will continue to face this challenge as he does anything else, with a headstrong and confident attitude. Often in life, we feel that no one really cares; however, many of you who know and love Garin have overwhelmingly shown us your concern and assistance. We continue to ask for your support, concern and encouragement. Please join us as we continue our journey together.”
Now, seven and one-half years later, Garin has just received his electric wheelchair and he is so proud of it. It is his favorite basketball team’s color; Duke Blue.
Unfortunately, his Dad; Gary, has to work out of town much of the work week and he is not with the family. Gary knows how much of a burden this has placed on Rebekah and Hilton; however, a man has to do what it takes to provide for his family.
This has placed a great burden on Rebekah and Hilton (who is now a freshman in high school), in taking care of Garin. With the electric wheelchair, Rebekah is having such difficulty in lifting the chair into her SUV and then lifting Garin to place him in the vehicle. Garin weighs around 90 pounds now and will only get heavier as time goes on.
I have taken the opportunity to use Go Fund Me to ask for the assistance of friends, family, neighbors and any of you that may wish to contribute for Rebekah and her family to purchase a handicapped accessible van with a lift. We all know how a debilitating disease can place such a financial burden on even the wealthiest families, but Rebekah is a Librarian and we all know that a Librarian at a public school does not make a large sum of money. Having seen her and Hilton lift Garin into her vehicle, I felt that it was time to make their lives a little easier.
This purchase will alleviate the need for Rebekah and Hilton to lift the wheelchair and Garin. The lift will take Garin in his wheelchair and place them in the van and he will be able to remain in his seat while he rides to school, physical therapy, to see Hilton play basketball and his baseball games in Charlotte at the Miracle League at the YMCA.
On behalf of Garin, Hilton, Rebekah, and Gary, I want to thank you for your kindness and any monetary support that you can give to this special family. Rebekah is my niece and has been and will always continue to hold such a special place in my heart. My prayer is for a cure, but if this does not happen in Garin's lifetime, I pray for life to be much easier on all of them and I am making it my goal to make this happen. Go Fund Me does charge a 5% fee for the use of the website; however, as a supporter, I am going to take care of that amount so that every dollar that you donate will go directly towards the purchase of this van.
Many, many thanks,
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