Fighting through cerebral palsy, the United Way supports families

Birmingham Alabama
Sponsored
Birmingham Alabama
Eryca Lewis and her son, Kylin – photo from the United Way of Central Alabama

Eryca Lewis and her son, Kylin, have a special bond. That’s the first thing you notice about them. It’s seen in the loving and supportive way they look at each other and in Eryca’s gentle clasp of Kylin’s shaking hand as he describes how United Way fights for him.

Recently, United Way highlighted Eryca and Kylin Lewis and the work of United Ability (formerly United Cerebral Palsy), a United Way agency that provides innovative services connecting people with disabilities to their communities, and empowering individuals to live full and meaningful lives.

“He was one-and-a-half. He was not trying to walk. We went ahead and checked, and that’s when they told us cerebral palsy,” says Eryca about her discovery of Kylin’s condition. It was then doctors pointed them toward United Ability.

Lifelong Journey

When he was two, Eryca was able to enroll Kylin in United Ability’s Hand In Hand Early Intervention program. While the staff worked with Kylin through physical and speech therapy, they helped Eryca learn how to care for his needs at home. Caregiver training and support are at the heart of United Ability’s philosophy to ensure that a child’s learning and development can be maximized wherever they are throughout the day.

“We are a 70-year-old organization. We provide service for children and adults throughout their lives,” states Dr. Gary Edwards, CEO at United Ability. “When a parent finds out they have a child with disabilities, dreams for that child are shattered. We helped the parent dream new dreams.”

Birmingham Alabama
Eryca and Kylin – photo from the United Way of Central Alabama

Eryca advocates and fights for Kylin daily. “You get knocked down in so many areas. You try to do something to help your child,” she says. “Every step you take, you get knocked down.”

That’s where United Ability and United Way step in.

For more than 21 years, United Ability and United Way have been with Eryca and Kylin on that lifelong journey together, supporting them and lifting them up when they get knocked down. That support has made a world of difference in Kylin’s outlook on life.

Birmingham Alabama
Kylin Lewis – photo by United Way

“Disability doesn’t matter,” says Kylin. “If you have a strong mind and will, that’s all that matters.”

The United Way of Central Alabama welcomes the support of those wishing to make a positive change in the lives of people like Eryca and Kylin. Those interested in giving can do so at UWCA.org

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Author: Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama’s Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama’s cancer risk and mercury standards.