Reviewed by: Nathan Watson
About the length it takes when you wake up, get out of bed and reach your dresser in the morning. It’s easy — right?
But for Dineste White and her son Cam, taking three steps is a miracle.
Cam was born with spina bifida. The doctors told his mother he would never walk or talk.
“They told me he was going to be never walk, talk, or have any quality of life,” Dineste explained without sugar coating their diagnoses.
“Not Cam, he is a fighter” she added.
This month, I had the privilege to meet this extraordinary 4 year-old boy and his mom to learn about his journey with United Ability and their efforts to help raise funds for the organization’s annual Champions Campaign which provides vital funds to provide services for children with disabilities that attend the Hand In Hand Early Learning Program.
It was during a recent in-person interview I learned how important taking three steps can be.
When I walked into the play room at Hand In Hand, Cam immediately crawled up to me, looked me straight in the eyes and with a wide smile said… Hi! Then he scurried back and forth on his hands and knees between all the adults in the room.
Cam is not what the doctors said he would be — far, far from it. He has proven the doctors wrong, thanks to his family, United Ability and his hard work at United Ability’s Hand In Hand.
Over the years, he has gone from rolling on his side, barely able to sit up by himself — to crawling and yes, steps.
“We’ve seen so much improvement.” Dineste said. “He is now using a walker. I’ve seen him take three steps. He’s been saying more words too. We still haven’t been working on sentences, but he’s been saying more words than usual. And he’s been repeating them, so we have to also watch what we say,” she laughed.
A Team Effort
United Ability’s Marliese Delgado works with Cam everyday at Hand In Hand. She credits Cam’s family for his progress.
“You can tell mom works with him a lot. Dad works with him and his sister. It makes a big difference.”
Taking three steps for Cam and many of the children Marliese works with is not easy.
“It might not be a big deal for a typical child, but it is amazingly hard for people with disabilities. They fight every day to be able to walk or to stand or for some children even to sit up. Cam worked very hard to be able to do what he can do now, — take those three steps and now we’re working on taking four steps.”
Hand In Hand — it’s a Family
The best way to describe Hand in Hand is — its family. Both Dineste and Marliese told me how Cam loves to look people in the eyes, just like he did with me and greet them with a few words. And of course, he has some favorites, like Mr. Darrell who works in maintenance at United Ability.
“He’s just an absolute joy in this place!” declared Marliese.
You Never Leave United Ability
This is Cam’s last year at Hand In Hand. Next school year, he will be in kindergarten at a local school. Hand In Hand is preparing him for that next leg in his journey.
“I wish he could stay here forever,” Dineste said.
He will. Even though he won’t be at Hand in Hand, the children and families at United Ability will alway remain connected with the group if they wish, especially through the recently established comprehensive health care program with Cahaba Medical Care at the Ability Clinic.
Be a Champion
And don’t forget, you can help Cam and children like him take their fourth step and many more by joining the United Ability Champions Campaign today. Every dollar you give will be matched.