Photography by Nicole W Photography
We would like to introduce 9-year-old Ethan. His friendly smile is the first thing you’ll see every time he enters a room. Those who know him best describe him as the most fun-loving, playful kid you will ever meet. Not only does he greet everyone he encounters with a genuinely infectious smile, but he also asks, “Hey, how are you?” His friendly nature makes him easy to love and to enjoy spending time with.
A traumatic birth following a very healthy pregnancy changed Ethan’s future. After a lengthy delivery, Ethan got stuck in the birth canal and was deprived oxygen. They found that he only had one lung functioning and that one was only functioning at thirteen percent of its capacity. After a week in the hospital and two days the NICU, he pulled through and came home seemingly healthy. Around 8 months old they discovered that he was not meeting developmental milestones at the expected age ranges. He was not sitting up, crawling, or doing tummy time like other babies his age. Finding out what was impacting his development was a long journey. After several seizures, numerous EKGs, MRIs, and respiratory issues, at the age of two, Ethan was finally diagnosed with Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy (CP). The form of CP and Spasticity Ethan has is a neuromuscular condition of hypertonia as an especially high and constant ‘stiffness’ or ‘tightness’ in the muscles of the lower extremities. This form of CP and Spasticity can be quite crippling and causes impaired physical movement, difficulty with fine motor tasks and normal activities such as, dressing, bathing, brushing teeth, combing hair, and speech delay.
These challenges do not phase him. He does not let his disability define him and he does not use it as a crutch. In fact, he does not think of himself as any different from other children his age.
Ethan joyfully crawls, walks in his Kaye walker, and wheels himself in his wheelchair throughout his day never letting his disability slow him down. He is a fighter and determined to achieve all of his goals. He loves going to school each day and the highlight of his day is riding the school bus. Just like the other kids his age he has many favorites including pancakes, pizza, chocolate milk, spaghetti, race cars, the Georgia Bulldogs, bouncy houses and balls, swimming, video games, music (esp. Luke Bryan!), and the most important of all his iPad! Ethan is also obsessed with watching Fixer Upper and Flip or Flop on HGTV® and talks constantly about ‘beams’ on the ceiling, lights and fans!
SOARD was over the moon to be able to provide this little man with a wheelchair accessible bathroom and dream in-home therapy suite. This dream makeover has helped facilitate his independence and will continue to brighten his future!