A Robotic Arm for Kevin Schaefer

Kevin was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) when he was 19 months old. When he was 2, he got his first power wheelchair. As the disease progressed, so did his weakness. The past few years have left him with little to no arm strength and now, as a 21-year-old student at N.C. State University, he cannot even feed himself without help. 

Recently, he was able to try out a Jaco robotic arm and a whole new world opened up for him. The arm attaches to the wheelchair and is able to do what Kevin cannot: push buttons, pick up objects, scratch his head and, yes, hold cups and utensils so that he can feed himself! The possibilities are simply limitless. All of this is controlled by Kevin through his joystick - the one piece of his wheelchair that he can maneuver without help. 

The obstacle to this modern wonder is, of course, the cost. It will take upwards of $50,000 to purchase Jaco, something insurance will not cover. Our family is saving on our own, but we will not be able to reach this goal for years. Kevin's annual medical expenses average $30,000 out-of-pocket, including hiring caregivers and providing necessary medical equipment. Little is left for "extras" - which are really must-haves when you are a young man wanting to conquer the world.

We are deeply appreciative of any help and especially for your prayers that Jaco will become a reality. Because Kevin believes, so do we!


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Cindy Parker Schaefer 
Cary, NC

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