"KINDESS IS REALIZING THAT WE'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.'' ~ RAKtivist
I would like to share a story of how a simple act of kindness by a caring therapist, would help create a bond between two families facing similar challenges for many years to come.
In 2007, Matt and Cindy Broxterman sought the help of Easterseals Capper Foundation (ESCF) for their 8 year old son, Treven, who had limited use of his right side. For the next eight years he would receive services at Capper off and on for Physical Therapy.
In 2012, Chris and Emily McGee also began receiving the help of Easterseals for their seven month old baby boy, Ethan, who experienced a stroke at birth, limiting the use of his right side. Over time, Kim Coker, Physical Therapist, worked to help Ethan be able to sit up, walk, run, and many other movements the McGee's were not sure would ever be possible.
Like many families, the McGee's were deeply concerned about their child and unsure what the future would hold. Emily shared, "I remember Kim telling me during a difficult time that she had worked with another boy, who had similar challenges and the success they had. Kim wanted to find a way to connect us with other families who had similar experiences."
In 2013, after graduating from services at Capper, 14 yr. old Treven, decided he wanted to help other children with disabilities be all they could be and began volunteering in different programs. He started to help coach children in an adaptive soccer league. He also decided to help children with disabilities learn to ride a two-wheeled bicycle at Capper's iCan Bike Program, where the McGee's would first encounter Treven.
Treven and Ethan would cross paths again a little over a year later at TOP Soccer, a soccer program for children with special needs. The two were paired up with one another and their bond grew stronger.
They began spending more time together and learning from one another. Treven began attending Ethan's therapy sessions at Capper to help encourage him. He would stop by the McGee's house to see how Ethan was, and the McGee's started going to cheer Treven on at his basketball games.
"In a way, Ethan is kind of a role model to me. He teaches me how to do things a different way. I have been through it and honestly at times, I'm not sure how Ethan is able to do the things he does. He reminds me how lucky I am to be where I am at and to keep pushing," shared Treven.
Throughout the years, both families have remained close, helping guide one another through the different challenges they face. They have enjoyed their friendship, including sharing meals and holidays together. Emily shared, "To have another family that has been through it and walked the same path, especially when it wasn't the path you envisioned and to understand what we are going through, is just really nice!"
Treven, now a high school senior, will be attending Washburn University in the fall and transition into the next phase of his life. Ethan continues to make progress in therapy at ESCF and is excited to be a 1st grader. Treven believes the bond they share will continue to help them overcome new challenges. "Our age difference will never matter. We will always be there for each other, pushing each other. That bond will always be there," he said.
Both families believe if it wasn't for Capper and all the caring staff, like Kim Coker, this would have never happened. Kim shared her perspective, "This really is a pretty unique situation. I think it says a lot about Treven and what a great guy he is. He has empathy and cares so much. He wants to make a difference and not only with Ethan. It just shows in his character."
We believe every person should be given the support they need to participate fully throughout their lifespan and achieve their dreams. The Broxterman's and McGee's said, "We are so grateful to Kim and Easterseals Capper Foundation. They have helped us in so many ways beyond providing therapy. Capper connected us for a lifetime."
At Eastereals Capper Foundation, our purpose is to change the way the world views and defines disability, by making profound positive differences in peoples lives every day. Treven and Ethan will continue to benefit from the specialized pediatric therapy services we provided, along with their families and many others.
The impact our services have on the individuals, their families and the community would not be possible without the caring and compassionate support of friends, volunteers and donors like you. Together, we are making a difference.
This holiday season, please consider making a generous contribution to ensure that people with disabilities continue to receive life-changing therapies and services. There is no doubt, you will feel good about giving to support our meaningful and worthwhile efforts!
President & CEO