Dear friend of UCP,
As someone who’s a strong believer in family, I’d like to thank you for supporting United Cerebral Palsy (UCP). You have no idea how much it means for families like mine.
I remember the day my grandson Andrew was born as though it was yesterday. My grandson was a beautiful seven-pound, two-ounce bundle of joy. But by the very next day, he’d lost half of his weight, and we came very close to losing him!
A blood clot had reached his brain, and left his body limp like a wet noodle. He couldn’t move his own arms or legs, so I wrapped his receiving blanket around him snugly to keep him safe when we held him. He was unable to suck and wouldn’t wake up on his own. And we couldn’t lay him on his stomach or he’d stop breathing.
The doctors didn’t expect him to live even a year. They said he would never walk, hold himself up, or comprehend what was going on around him. It seemed as though the odds were stacked against him right from the start.
I learned how to insert a feeding tube and hook him up to machines each night. I quit my job to take care of him, and our family surrounded him with competent care, and unconditional love. He got lots of therapy and medical attention, and he began to respond. Before you know it, we were celebrating his 1st birthday. He’d made it through year one! What more could he achieve?
Soon after, one of his therapists introduced us to UCP. I know you have given to UCP in the past, but your help is urgently needed now. Your gift of any amount you can comfortably afford will make it possible for families like mine, who are dealing with the daily challenges of physical and intellectual disabilities, to get the help they so dearly need.
As Andrew grew, our challenges continued. He was so thin that you could count his ribs just by looking at him. The doctors weren’t sure how his little body would react to medicines, so when they needed to run tests, I’d just hug him close and whisper that I loved him and everything was going to be okay. He’d play with my hair, but he was listening. He got my message. He’s grandma’s boy.
Today, Andrew is 28. Since he doesn’t feel pain or understand consequences, someone needs to be with him at all times so he doesn’t touch a hot burner or wander into the street. But I feel blessed to have witnessed so many of his achievements. He doesn’t speak, but he’s developed his own sign language for several words. He loves it when I drop something and say “Ooops!” — it sets him off laughing. And I wish you could see him when my seven great-grandchildren visit. They climb on his chair so they can draw pictures and play board games with him.
Thanks to donors like you and the wonderful collaboration among agencies, business in our community, and our local UCP, he goes to a day program and has fun: he goes to the park, stores, and the mall; he bowls, and plays ball. He loves to go out to eat. He even got to dance at a prom — I was standing behind him holding on to his belt so he could keep his balance. He was so thrilled. He inherited his late grandfather’s love of life, and it brings me joy to see it.
At his UCP day class, Andrew gardens and enjoys creative activities. His class buys groceries and cooks meals. They go to movies together. He’s learned to use adaptive technology, so he can communicate on his iPad. He’s learned to walk, and when he gets tired, he has his wheelchair.
UCP has made it possible for him to live at home with our family. We keep him close, in our lives, and in our hearts. It’s given him choices, goals, and opportunities. And UCP is advocating for him every single day by protecting and promoting programs that work for families like mine.
You might say I’m a grandma on a mission. It’s a mission that’s very close to my heart. So, I’ll ask you again, will you please renew your commitment to UCP?
Thank you in advance,