“What are you made of?” was the question that echoed in Kristy’s head as she pushed toward the finish line of the Hennepin Hundred. Over the course of 29 hours, Kristy Cwik tackled a 100-mile trail run that signifies her journey as a runner and a mother.
Her twin daughters, Elly and Emmy, were born at just 23 weeks, with a 50% chance of survival. They spent their first five months in the NICU in a swirl of tubes, monitors and operating rooms before they were strong enough to go home. The girls were gradually weaned from medical equipment and doctor visits, but weekly therapy appointments came in their place. By age two, Emmy was catching up on her developmental milestones, while Elly was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
In late October, the twins will celebrate their 5th birthday – nearly four months ahead of the due date Kristy anticipated. Elly continues to receive physical therapy, occupational therapy, and nutrition therapies. She looks forward to the time with her therapists, asking daily, “Easter Seals today?”
Kristy used her 100-mile run as an opportunity to share the impact of Easter Seals with her social network. In just two weeks she exceeded her $2,000 fundraising goal.
While her daughter worked hard to gain the confidence, endurance and strength to take steps with her walker, Kristy trained mile-by-mile to reach her own goal and inspire others.
“Running taught me a lot about discipline, motivation, pushing boundaries and limits. Running has shown me that I can do hard things; things that I never imagined possible by working hard and having faith in myself and my abilities.”
To show your support for Kristy or set up your own fundraising page, visit Firstgiving.com/EasterSealsDFVR
Illinois State Comptroller, Susana Mendoza visited Easter Seals DuPage & Fox Valley where she greeted children and parents and sat down with the executive team to learn more about pediatric therapy services. As a state representative, Chicago City Clerk, and now Illinois State Comptroller, Susana Mendoza is recognized for her leadership and legislation in support of social services.
We are grateful for her commitment to preserving Early Intervention and her advocacy on behalf of infants and children with developmental delays and disabilities.
The 37th Annual Luncheon & Fashion Show celebrated the dreams and achievements of children on the runway, with the theme “When I Grow Up” at Drury Lane on September 23. Pediatric Nutrition Therapist, Cindy Baranoski, was honored as this year’s Spotlight Award recipient. She was selected for her dedication in making a difference in the lives of children at Easter Seals DuPage & Fox Valley. Ambassador, Shannon Kelly made the theme come alive with her speech on growing up with a disability and embracing every opportunity as she begins her professional career.
NBC 5 Chicago news anchor, Dick Johnson, returned as host of the children’s fashion show and introduced a preview of the Drury Lane theatre production of Rock of Ages.
The Luncheon & Fashion Show netted more than $48,000 and will return on September 22, 2018.
View photos of the event here. For a look at highlights on and off the runway, view this video: FASHION SHOW 2017
Bernardo Gomez counted down the days to September 17 with a level of excitement usually reserved for birthdays and holidays. On that unseasonably warm September day, Bernardo and eight other children from Easter Seals received adapted bicycles customized to meet their needs. For Bernardo, who struggles with muscle weakness resulting from hemiplegia, the red recumbent 3-wheeler offers a wide rear frame and a braking system he can control with his dominant left side.
The fleet of adapted bikes was made possible by the generosity of Jonathan Goers’ friends and family. Dick and Ellie Goers lost their son Jonathan last year, decades after a tragic train accident that left him with profound disabilities. In his memory, they teamed up with Easter Seals DuPage & Fox Valley to bring the joy of cycling to children with special needs.
The presentation included bikes, trikes and trailers that were fitted by Easter Seals therapists and built by bike mechanics from Project Mobility. The recipients participated in a special pedal parade as part of the 2nd Annual Bike for the Kids event. This fundraiser challenged cyclists to ride distances ranging from 2.5 – 100 miles to show their support for Easter Seals. It net more than $13,000. At age 14, Bernardo looks forward to finally being able to ride with his cousins on the prairie path near his home. In just a few words, he described how it felt to cycle on his own bike for the first time,
“I felt good, and happy, and proud.”
Cindy Erdos, AuD, brings 27 years of clinical experience to Easter Seals Elgin as the new head of Audiology. She understands the impact that hearing loss can have on children and adults, and offers
communication strategies and patient-family education while identifying individualized hearing solutions.
For a 16-year-old boy with a lifelong hearing impairment, she paired his new hearing aids with his cell phone. His ability to hear his phone calls and music downloads directly through his hearing aids earned her a smile that left a lasting impression. These patient-centered solutions are mutually rewarding for Cindy who recalls, “every time I think of that day, I remember why I am an audiologist.”
Learn more about hearing tests and hearing aid fittings for all ages at EasterSealsDFVR.org/Audiology
We are creating a mosaic of hand-decorated tiles to commemorate the Growing Home Campaign and we’d love to include your artistic creation. Simply create a drawing, painting or saying on any media and we’ll create a tile that will become part of this permanent Growing Home installation.
The Growing Home Campaign is our capital campaign that will enable Easter Seals DuPage & Fox Valley to purchase the therapy wing of our building, securing our future. This will help ensure the life-changing services that thousands depend on, are available to any infant, child and family in need, for many years to come.
Giving a Gift to Growing Home
There are many ways to support the Growing Home Campaign. An outright gift or a multi-year pledge of any size may be made to the campaign, and can be paid through check, credit card, securities or other property. For more information about these opportunities, please click here or contact the development team at 630.620.4433 or info@EasterSealsDFVR
Be a part of #GivingTuesday – the global day of giving that follows Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Find out how you can inspire others to contribute by becoming an Easter Seals Giving Tuesday Ambassador. Kick off the holiday giving season with us on November 28! Email email@example.com for more information.
40th Annual Benefit Gala
15th Annual Run for the Kids: Superhero Hustle