Brandon had a great time with his family at Variety’s Chatter Matters! Communication Camp. While Brandon had fun making friends and engaging in “non parallel play” for the first time, his parents enjoyed the opportunity to share their concerns with other parents who ‘get it.’
Brandon, who is 7 years old, has Agenesis of the corpus collosum, epilepsy, and speech apraxia. Before camp, Jim and Wendy were a little skeptical of the need for Brandon to use a communication device, as Brandon can verbally communicate, it is just very difficult to understand him. But by the end of camp, everyone understood the importance the device is for Brandon.
"Chatter Matters was an excellent experience for all of us. Brandon made some friends and was able to be himself and not be judged, was able to participate in some great activities. It was really awesome to see others using their devices and what a lifeline these devices are in helping children to express themselves. The Speech Pathologists, students and other professionals at Chatter Matters were instrumental in an overall awesome experience that will never be forgotten."
- Brandon's dad, Jim
Cori is a bright eyed 4-year-old girl who loves to shop at Target and be out and about in her community. Unfortunately, before Variety installed a wheelchair ramp for Cori, she was not able to access her community as often as she would have liked. Cori is diagnosed with Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy and because of this, is unable to use her arms and legs and uses a wheelchair for mobility. She lives with her grandparents and depends on them for all of her cares including lifting. Cori’s grandmother is also physically disabled which made leaving the home a challenge. Because Cori’s wheelchair is extremely heavy, Cori and her grandmother had to rely on Cori’s grandfather for all of the lifting. This significantly limited their ability to access their community.
Variety stepped in to provide a wheelchair ramp for Cori so that she could access her community with ease! Before the wheelchair ramp was installed, Cori’s grandfather had to carry Cori’s chair out of the home, down multiple stairs, then return for Cori to put her in her chair. The wheelchair ramp allows Cori and her grandparents to enter and exit the home with ease while Cori remains in her wheelchair. This has resulted in less pain for the grandfather, less wear and tear on the wheelchair, and has eliminated a fear of Cori falling or being dropped. The wheelchair ramp allows for more FREEDOM and Cori has been able to make many visits to the toy aisle at Target!
Caleb is a vibrant and outgoing 11-year-old boy who loves super heroes, video games, and Leggos! One of his all-time favorite hobbies is drawing. After visiting a local bike shop that makes adaptive bikes, Caleb was inspired to draw the bike of his dreams. He submitted the drawing, along with an application for an adaptive bike to Variety of Wisconsin, in hopes that he could get his very own set of wheels. Because Caleb has Spina Bifida and an abnormal gait, he is unable to ride a traditional 2-wheeled bicycle. He dreamed of a bike- a green one for that matter- that he could ride to his local park and explore his community. Variety of Wisconsin made Caleb’s dream come true by providing him with his very own adaptive bike. Caleb lovingly named it “The Green Machine!”
Caleb looks forward to riding his bike on the lakefront bike trails. Caleb’s bike has special pedals with foot straps and a basket in the back which he can use to transport his Leggos creations and lunch boxes for picnics at the beach.
"The adaptive bike empowers Caleb because it allows him to keep up with other kids. When Caleb is on wheels, he’s on equal ground with the other kids and he’s able to move faster than he can when he walks. The bike gives him Freedom."
- Caleb’s mom, Rachel