My name is Devin Ingram and I’m currently studying in Australia. I have been studying for my master's degree since January of 2017 and will graduate in April of this year.
In the summer of 2017, my 15 year old little sister, Grace, was diagnosed with Friedreich’s Ataxia. For those unaware of this disease like I was, Friedreich’s is a disorder that attacks the spinal cord and nerves system which results in damage to the lower body and cerebellum, the part of the brain that coordinates balance and movement. Early signs of Friedreich’s are loss of coordination, balance issues and scoliosis. Ultimately, this disease will result in being confined to a wheelchair and assistance with daily life. This was an especially big hit to our family as my 12 year old brother, Spicer, was diagnosed with autism when he was 13 months old. This is still very fresh to me and being across the world makes it easy to feel extremely helpless.
I want to do something very special for my Gracie Lu. I want to show her a part of the world before she is confined to a wheelchair and still able to walk. She has told me of her dreams of living in California and traveling the world and has expressed her fears of not being able to accomplish her dreams. This breaks my heart as an older sister and I want to prove all her fears wrong. This world is so beautiful and this family will never let this disease stop her from discovering all it’s beauty and conquering those fears.
Because of the length of the flight and how physically demanding it can be, Grace cannot do this trip alone. My mom, Michelle would have to fly with her. This would also be a special trip for my mom because she is full time caregiver for Spicer and my 4 year old sister, Charlie. I have set the goal to $3,000 to pay for their two flights and potentially a few hundred extra to help with a accommodation but of course, anything at all is a huge help.
There is nothing more I would love to have my mom and Grace here for my graduation, but more importantly, to show Grace that if put your faith in God, dream big enough and face your fears, this world is filled with many, many more good surprises than bad.
- Maryann Sonnett
- Matt Tysinger
- Michael Kopcsak
- Cassie Kohler
- Shelly Vaccaro
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