Hunter celebrated his fourth birthday in November and is just like any other typical four-year-old. He loves to play in the water, watch Sesame Street and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and loves cookies! Hunter was diagnosed with Achondroplasia at birth; he is a little person.
Hunter's diagnosis was scary and confusing for his family. Hunter's mother learned that his development would be delayed and that walking independently might not be possible for him. Four months later, Hunter suffered a cardiac arrest and the list of medical complications began to grow. Over the next several months Hunter was in and out of the hospital, his first major surgery was to place a tracheostomy tube and ventilator to help grow and strengthen his lungs.
Sarah, Hunter's mom, remembers sitting in his hospital room thinking he is now 9-months-old and is so far behind how will he ever catch up. That's when the family found Easter Seals. A team of Easter Seals therapists evaluated Hunter in his home and he began receiving developmental therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and feeding therapy.
Goals were set, goals were changed, and slowly goals were met. There were gains and losses, but the new members of Hunter's family - his Easter Seals therapists - kept pushing him to reach his goals. Many times his mother thought, "he's never going to reach this goal, maybe we should change it," and the next week, Hunter would hit that goal. Another milestone reached!
In the past year, much has changed for Hunter. He has not stopped talking since his trach was removed in June. At a recent speech evaluation, his mother learned that he gained 15 months of speech in a 12 month time frame. Hunter is now working on sound combinations and tongue placement to achieve a proper letter sound.
Hunter has gone from walking with a walker, to running with a walker. And today, Hunter can walk 30 feet without assistance! This is a big deal, as Hunter's geneticist said that he would not walk until he was at least 5 years of age. He is building core strength with the goal to walk further independently.
He no longer receives developmental therapy, and is enrolled in an early childhood education program. Hunter is still at Easter Seals three times a week for therapy and loves to see all of his friends there. Sarah is excited that Hunter is old enough attend Adventure Day Camp at Timber Pointe Outdoor Center this summer. She knows he will feel love and acceptance and hopes he will make lifelong friends while at camp.
Sarah shared Hunter's story at an Easter Seals event saying, " Success comes in life when you simply refuse to give up, with goals so strong that obstacles only act as motivation. That is what Easter Seals teaches our kids, giving HOPE for a bright future and better life."