Wheelchairs For My Birthday

Have you ever wondered what is like to not be able to walk and not have a wheelchair to assist you? Do you ever wonder what is like to have to live your life just laying down on a couch because there are no programs to assist people with disabilities obtain these so needed chairs?

My Son Timothy was born with VACTERL. We didn't know anything was wrong with him until the day he was born, and even then we really didn't know what all was wrong. I had a normal pregnancy. After 90hrs of being in labor he was born via emergency c-section at 34 wks on September 23, 2002 at the Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland weighing 5 lbs 4 oz. We were told he wouldn't make it through the night, but I believe God had other plans for him! In his short life Timothy has had 24 surgeries and more are pending. He spent 4 months in the hospital before he got to come home for the first time.

V- Vertebral (Timothy has fused vertebraes.)

A- Anal (Timothy was born with anal atresia.)

C- Cardiac (Timothy was born with 2 holes in his heart and also had a coarctation of the aorta when he was 1 week old.)

T- Tracheal (Timothy was born with a tracheal cleft. His trachea wasn't formed all the way which required for him to get a tracheostomy to be able to breathe.)

E- Esophageal (Timothy was born with esophageal atresia.)

R- Renal (Timothy only has one kidney.)

L- Limbs (Timothy was born with clubbed feet.)

At the age of 1yr old he got a second diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy. Timothy never crawled, he got around by rolling. At the age of 3 yrs old I knew it was time to get a wheelchair for him. As a Mother it was one of the hardest things I've had to do see my little boy in a wheelchair, but I knew this was what was in his best interest. People thought he was way too young to drive a power wheelchair, after all he was only 3 yrs old! It took some fighting  but we finally did it and we got his wheelchair approved by our insurance! I will never forget the day his chair got delivered. We sat Timothy in his wheelchair  and as the guy was explaining to us how everything worked Timothy decided he was ready to take on the world and he took off to the park. Talk about the freedom he must have felt! Then I realized how happy this chair had made him. No more pushing him around, he didn't have to tell us where to go he just did it on his own. We played hide and seek in the house and had the best time. Life truly changed for all of us when Timothy got his wheelchair.

Ever since my Son was little I've tried to teach him that even though he may not be able to walk he is capable of doing anything he puts his mind to. We do things like other kids we just have to adjust them for him. Timothy will be turning 12 years old next month, and I thank God that he has grown up to be a good kid who acknowledges how many blessings God gives us every day. We are always looking for ways to give back to others because we feel that others have given so much to us.

In 2009, Timothy and I were able to bring awareness to a friend who worked for the DoD's Office of Military Community and Family Policy at the Pentagon for the need of handicap accessible playgrounds. Thanks to her listening to us they were able to fund the construction of 40 playgrounds in military installations stateside and overseas. Imagine the joy of being able to watch Timothy being able to play with his friends during recess. Not only did he have his wheelchair he had a handicap accessible playground where he could play and be like any other normal child.

A friend of ours who we've known since Timothy was a baby got involved with a foundation called "Wheelchairs For Kids International". This foundations mission is to provide mobility assistance to children in developing countries. Not long ago she had a chance to travel to Guatemala to deliver some of these wheelchairs for some of the kids who needed them, and we followed her journey through facebook. Timothy and I often talked about how awesome it was that these kids in need were getting their wheelchairs. There were days when Timothy would feel sad about not being able to walk, and I would remind him that although I knew he was sad he should always remember to be grateful he had his chair that got him around because there were lots of other children like the ones our friend met in Guatemala who didn't even had that. It's all about being grateful for what we have rather than what we don't.

Because Timothy is always trying to find ways of helping others he was offered the honor of becoming the 2[phone redacted] Child Champion for the "Wheelchairs for Kids International" Foundation. His goal is to raise enough money to buy 12 wheelchairs, one for every year he will be celebrating this year. The cost of each wheelchair is $300.00. I am hoping that our friends, family, and even strangers who are touched by his story can find it in their heart to help us raise this money so we can purchase these 12 wheelchairs and help change a childs life.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Tim, Paula & Timothy Michael Donovan

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Paula Donovan 
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