Save a Special Needs Friendship

Save a Special Needs Friendship

#SaveChesterAndJoseph


My son Joseph has autism. Joseph has struggled his entire life with making meaningful connections with people. He does not connect with his peers in or out of school and struggles in all social situations. These difficulties have led to a great deal of loneliness, emotional pain, and grief. I’m a single mom and have had a difficult time obtaining everything Joseph needs for his well-being and happiness.

Joseph was really struggling in school a few years ago. To help motivate him, I wanted to give him a large reward to work toward over time. He wanted a kitten badly, so he started working so hard in school to earn his reward. When he finally reached his goals we started looking for the perfect cat. He read a dozen books on cat and kitten care and researched all the shelters in the area. He found Chester at the Animal Adoption Center and read all about him. 

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Chester is a tuxedo cat diagnosed with Cerebellar Hypoplasia. CH is a congenital neurological condition where the cerebellum, the part of the brain which controls fine motor skills and coordination, is not completely mature at birth. This causes Chester to not walk as well as other cats and fall over often, as well as other neurologically-sourced health issues. However, he is expected to live a long and happy life despite his special needs. Joseph lovingly nicknamed him “Chester Flopster” due to his unique gait.

When Joseph and I first met Chester, Joseph was 11 and Chester was about 7 months old. I wanted to make sure that they were the right fit for each other and that we were able to care for Chester and his extra needs. We discussed how Joseph’s life would change with a responsibility this great. I didn’t hold back when I told him how hard it would be. When I asked Joseph if he was sure he was willing to take on all this extra work, with tears in his eyes he said “He needs extra help like I do. If I don´t take care of him no one else will, and I don't want him to be alone.” With tears now in my eyes, I told him of course he could adopt that cat. 

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We took Chester home and the adventure began! The first 6 months were hard as Chester grew and we made many adjustments to his home to help him live with his disability, but Chester gives much more reward than he costs in effort. He is happy and doesn’t realize or care that he has a disability. He is active and hilarious, lifting our families spirits on a daily basis. Chester and Joseph love to play with the “fairy” stick and catnip present. One of Chester’s favorite games is parachute while Joseph and I are trying to fold sheets or make beds.

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Most importantly, Joseph has bonded with Chester like I have never seen before. They are the answer to each others’ prayers. Everywhere Joseph goes, Chester goes. If Joseph is on the couch, Chester is on Joseph. When Joseph goes up to bed, Chester follows behind. They are inseparable!

#ChesterFlopster
Meet Chester Flopster! https://www.instagram.com/chesterflopster/

But now that they have made this life-changing connection, they are in jeopardy of losing it. #SaveChesterAndJoseph

Chester is now 2 years old, 3 in August. He started not feeling well a few  weeks ago so we took him into the vet. He has been diagnosed with urinary blockage. We have been into the vet 4 times now in the last 5 weeks, including a 3 days stay, an additional overnight stay, plus a neurologist. Chester is not responding to the medications and is still suffering from being unable to empty his bladder. If untreated, Chester will die of a ruptured bladder. Reconstructive surgery is needed to fix his urethra so that he can have control over his functions again. The estimated cost of his surgery is $3000, which we don’t have--not even close. His current total of medical bills from these past five weeks is already $668.72. This is a permanently fixable problem, but if we can’t come up with the money we will lose him.

Joseph has spent the last few days depressed and teary eyed since we got the news. He is devastated at the thought of losing his best friend. He doesn’t know if he’ll ever have another chance at a relationship as special as this one. Autism makes loss more difficult due to atypical processing of the world, emotions, and feelings. Trauma results when strong relationships are severed, and it is more difficult to replace the ones lost with new relationships. Chester has a lot of great years left and we would like to give him the best life he can have. 

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Joseph’s birthday is in July and he told me he would rather have a happy healthy Chester than any other present for both his birthday and Christmas. Please help us help Chester, and in turn, help my son! Joseph cannot imagine what life would be like without his best friend. I am afraid for the trauma of loss that my son will experience; especially knowing that he could have been saved if we could afford it. His CH is not life-shortening; he will live to a ripe old age after the surgery. Anything at all, even small amounts, will help offset the cost and help give Chester a great future with his best friend Joseph. 

#SaveChesterAndJoseph

#ChesterFlopster

#CHawareness

#HelpSaveChester

#AutismAwareness

#SpecialNeeds


THANK YOU from the bottom of all our hearts for your time and compassion!

Donations

  • Jana Bonfield 
    • $20 
    • 4 d
  • Jake Morley 
    • $50 
    • 4 d
  • Kara Dawson 
    • $20 
    • 5 d
  • Joanna Perez 
    • $15 
    • 5 d
  • Lola Hernandez 
    • $50 
    • 5 d
See all

Organizer

Rebecca Cummings Keller 
Organizer
Salt Lake City, UT
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