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Stay Tough: A 4WD Van For Rainan

$2,136 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 37 people in 14 months
Our family took the name Heathen to lovingly lean into what people seem to think we are, what our ancestors were called but not defined by. We are earthbound life lovers, craftspersons, wild foods tenders, deer people. We tan hides and pack horses into the mountains. We are musicians and animal processors, a growing family committed to creating a lifeway we can be proud to live. When Alexander and I had our first son, we enveloped him into our lives with joy and the anticipation that once he could hold his own, he'd be in the saddle with us as he had been in the womb, exploring our beautiful country and all the blessings it extends.

But by the time he was a year old, we knew something wasn't right. He wasnt making any moves towards crawling, couldnt hold any weight on his legs. When Rainan was 15 months old he was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a genetic disorder that effects his body's ability to maintain and build muscle. He has Type 2, which looks like his highest physical milestone reached was sitting up, and from there he is expected to regress until he can no longer hold up his head, eat on his own, eventually talk or breathe.  

Our time together may be limited but we are determined to support him to live a beautiful, whole life, full of people who love him, ripe berries, juicy meat, nature, music and meaning. Some of our lifeway has been difficult to share with him, found in the more remote parts of our country. Some of it has had to shift considerably to account for his physical and medical needs. But even when a pathway becomes impassable with him, we surrender, sit down in the trail and enjoy what's around us before turning back.

We have finally come around to the inevitable conclusion that in order to keep the world beyond where our horses can get us accessible to Rainan, we need to get into a wheelchair accessible van. They are not always so expensive if you can find them used. However, anyone who has ever driven up our road or gone on a scouting mission with us knows that in order for us to maintain the way we roll, we have to have four wheel drive. We are happy to not have a hydraulic lift, what is more important than gadgetry is a safe and capable vehicle that will allow us to both stay in wilder places and, as our first hospitalization has made clear, allow us to drive over the passes even in winter.

Super grateful for your support in helping augment the cost of what will be a very important and hopefully fun and freeing shift in our family's adventures. The little man thanks you too!
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Just rode the horses back from over the hills where we helped teach and facilitate at Saskatoon Circle, an earth skills gathering put on by our Methow clan and attended by some 200 people. Rainan had so much fun, made tons of friends, was passed from lap to lap and pushed around in his stroller chasing after goats, exploring classes and participating joyfully in our larger community. He even got tossed in the air on a deerskin! We are so grateful we can share experiences like this with him, and, here is the plug, that's why raising money for a van is so important to us. Sure, once he has his power chair we could just keep it on the land, but wheels become legs to kids who lack the ability to mobilize, and we want him to be able to cruise around and enjoy more of this life, follow his own curiosity and make his own friends. Thanks to those who have helped us so far, and again, connecting us with larger networks can help as much as a donation does. Merry solstice and bountiful berry season to you!
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So grateful to be home from the hospital! That was a very trying ten days, for all of us but most especially for Rainan. He came home hungry for lots of sunshine and outside time. Our lives now require twice daily respiratory therapy for his wellness, and closer observation of his nutrition and ability to eat on his own. But we have managed to incorporate these changes while still enjoying lifes everyday miracles like fresh greens grown in the garden, thjnderstorms and sleepingoutside with the crickets and stars.

I sort of dropped the ball with this fundraiser. It is difficult to find time and energy to manage a successful campaign when we are also managing our lives, the influx of summer visitors, preparing for summer teaching events, caring for many nonhuman lives and tending our family through waves of good and waves of really hard.
But this van is a crucial piece to our success. Rainan will be getting his first power chair in a few months, but once it is home it will stay home until we have a safe way to transport him with it. We really appreciate the folks who have helped us to start off our fundraiser, and really pray for momentum toward our goal. Thank you magic workers, money gifters, social networkers, for helping us make this happen!
Rainan beaming and swinging, when in doubt we take our leads from him.
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We passed our first thousand mark! There's still a long way to go but we are so grateful for folks helping get the ball rolling, connecting us with supportive people and organizations and especially for the love. We are still at Seattle Children's Hospital awaiting release. This has been a really challenging two weeks, but the outpouring of sweetness from you all has helped carry us through. So thank you!
Seattle spring in full bloom brings cheer to a grey scale room
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$2,136 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 37 people in 14 months
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AG
$20
Ariel Greenwood
9 months ago
$20
Robert Fossek II
10 months ago
MU
$25
Markel Uriu
11 months ago
SR
$50
Shelly Risbry
11 months ago
GB
$100
Grace Bateman
11 months ago
$33
Lauren Arrow
12 months ago
$100
Meg BeattiePatrick
12 months ago
AW
$30
Alexandra Wever
12 months ago
AK
$35
Alan Kaufmann
12 months ago
PH
$50
Paige Heron
12 months ago
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