WATCH THE VIDEO
Grace is a beautiful 6-year-old girl with one of the biggest smiles you’ll ever see and the most contagious laughs you’ll ever hear. She loves to dance, sing, play with her dolls, and basically do any activity that includes interaction with others. To say she never meets a stranger is an understatement.
Being a growing child with Cerebral Palsy, Grace is at a point where she needs a wheelchair accessible van. Please help us meet this need by donating to the campaign, Wheels for Grace.
To hear Grace's Story, watch the attached video.
To read Grace's full story, in the words of her mother, see below.
Love Rescues International, Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. // All donations are tax-deductible.
IN HER MOTHER'S WORDS
I am blessed to be the mom of a precious little girl named Grace who is a cerebral palsy warrior. Grace was born at 29 weeks and suffered a brain bleed at birth. After 3 months in the NICU, Grace became my daughter through adoption. Throughout her 6 years of life, Grace has overcome many obstacles including 4 brain surgeries. She is daily learning to overcome challenges and meet critical milestones. Grace has hydrocephalus, a VP shunt, and cerebral palsy affecting mainly her legs and her ability to walk. Her legs are very stiff and standing or walking independently is not possible at this time.
Many of you have prayed for Grace for the last 6 years. Numerous churches, total strangers that approach us in stores, family, and friends have all joined in praying for Grace to walk. While I still have great faith that God will cause Grace to rise up and walk, we are currently at a point where Grace uses a wheelchair most of the time. She can walk very short distances with her walker but tires very easily and her legs simply cannot hold her up for any length of time.
While making the move to a wheelchair was a big decision and one my heart struggled with, Grace has embraced her wheelchair. Grace is highly intelligent and is excelling in many areas at school. She loves math and is a phonics wiz but of course, PE and recess are her favorite activities, and using her wheelchair allows her to play with the other kids with such freedom. She has joined a dance class for kids with physical challenges where she dances in her wheelchair and she loves playing baseball with adaptive sports for kids! When she crosses the baseball bases in her wheelchair, she acts like she is flying!!! Grace’s favorite pass time is going to the movies and library and loves all things pink and princess! Her wheelchair is even pink with ballerinas on the wheels!
While Grace’s wheelchair has given her newfound independence, it has presented some major challenges for us. Grace cannot stand independently at all. Her legs are stiff and give way very quickly. When we go anywhere, I have to lift her out of the wheelchair and into the car. Because Grace’s legs do not hold her up, she can drop to the ground quickly while I am trying to pick her up. Then I have to try and lift her from the ground which is beyond difficult. To give some perspective, Grace is about 50 inches tall. I am 64 inches tall. It will not be long before Grace is as tall as me! She also weighs 90 lbs. which is more than half of my weight. People often say, your back must hurt from lifting Grace in and out of the car to which I reply, yes it does! But, Grace loves life and I am determined that she will be a part of all she wants to do! We go to therapy every week and Grace is making such great strides that I would not even think of stopping just because lifting her is difficult. However, I do often think about the day when Grace grows even more and I can no longer lift her in and out of the car. What will we do when that day comes?
I have been committed to making life functional and activities attainable for Grace throughout her life. I remodeled a bathroom at my house to be accessible complete with handrails throughout the bathroom and a walk-in shower. We have made countless trips to Texas Children’s Hospital to see doctors and therapists and currently do therapy locally on a weekly basis. At the house, Grace is able to be mobile and we care for her with ease. But leaving the house is when the challenge begins. Not only do I lift Grace in and out of the car but I have to take the wheelchair apart into 6 different pieces in order for it to fit into the trunk of my vehicle. I do that in 100-degree weather, I do that in the rain and in the cold. It’s very difficult. Depending on Grace’s schedule, I may do that 7 times in a day!
When I adopted Grace, I was single and I have been a single mom throughout her life. When I adopted Grace through private adoption, we were blessed with grants through various ministries and I taught piano lessons after work to make her adoption cost possible. I am blessed with extended family as a support system and various churches who love us and minister to us. I have a full-time job as a Children’s Pastor where I have served for the last 10 years and Grace has grown up in the office there. I have never asked for help before but I am at a point where we have a big need that I cannot meet on my own. Grace needs a wheelchair accessible van. The cost is 5 times the cost of any vehicle that I have ever bought in my life! With all of Grace’s other needs, saving for this has not been possible. I have a little girl that loves life, wants to go to church, dance, baseball, school, therapy, and sometimes the library and movies! I can’t even begin to think of the time when I can’t take her to those places bc she cannot get into a vehicle so I have to make the transition now to an accessible van. Love Rescues has offered to help us in raising awareness and funds for a wheelchair accessible van and I am so thankful that they saw our need and responded. Any help anyone gives will be appreciated beyond measure and will make a beautiful little girl's life much more accessible. She will be able to go places with much more ease and allow her family to take her places in a safe manner without needing to lift her in and out of our current vehicles.
Again, I am so appreciative and ask that you pray about our need for a wheelchair accessible van, and share this story with anyone and everyone that you know. Thank you for your time and I pray to hear my little girl’s amazing story has blessed your life for I am so thankful and blessed to be the mom of such an amazing little girl!
- Melissa Johnson