We have selected 2 families to receive free 2019 vacation packages. We would like to thank you our giving partners that donate hotel nights and attraction tickets to their families.
Travis was born what appeared to be a normal baby boy, although a little early. He was my "late life blessing" and the 4th of my children, with the other 3 ranging in age from 10, 17 and 19 years old. Life was good and loved our new, surprise baby boy and all of the joy he brought to our home. However, at 18 months of age Travis had his first Tonic-Clonic (grand mal) seizure and our world was turned upside down, never to be uprighted, in the same way, again.
I was soon to learn that Travis was going to be a very special child. He was born with Dravet Syndrome, a severe and debilitating seizure disorder that involves frequent, prolonged seizures, developmental delay, speech issues, and many other health issues. At first, I thought that all I had to do would be to find the right medicine or the right treatment and he would be just fine. However, my dreams of a "normal" life for my baby would soon be destroyed. His seizures persisted, despite numerous medications and medical interventions, including 3 brain surgeries and VNS surgery and Cannabis oil treatment. He has spent much of his life in hospitals and doctor's offices in the Houston area and has always been such a brave young man. His father left the home when Travis was young, claiming the weight of caring for a special child was not in his life plan. However, Travis' older sister, who was already living on her own, came back to the home to help me care for Travis and continues to stay and care for Travis so that I am able to work. Being a single mother caring for a special child can be quite overwhelming, but with the love and support of my family and friends, the journey is so much lighter.
As of today, Travis continues to have 8-10 Tonic-Clonic seizures a week and multiple partial seizures daily, but he doesn't let them weigh him down. Although he is 20 years old, he has a developmental age of only about a 4 year old. He loves The Hulk and anything green which is his favorite color. Travis is one of the most loving, caring children you could meet and despite the many challenges he faces on a daily basis, he never ceases to flash a smile to everyone he meets. I have often said that Travis is an Angel among us. He reaches the hearts of people in a way that is truly a gift and he spreads the gift of love and acceptance just by being him and sharing his smile. At one time, I felt I couldn't go anywhere with Travis or take him to public places for fear he would have a seizure, but now I know that this is our life so we just prepare for it to happen and continue forward. Our lives have been greatly impacted by the demanding needs of a special child, but over time, we have learned to ride the waves and dance in the rain. We have learned that life is what you make of it, and to enjoy each moment for what it is worth. We have learned that life is a gift not to be taken for granted. And we have learned that Travis is an exceptional teacher who has filled our lives with such valuable life lessons.
Yes, I may have a child with special needs and disabilities, but more importantly, my family and I have been gifted with a child who has the ability of making his mark on the world one smile at a time!
Cindy Johnson Kercheval
Our Family "Los Gardea" are a family of four (Victor, Maribel, Vurukai & Voozeki). We are dedicated to living our life to the fullest, appreciating every day we get and cherishing the little things in life. Our family life is challenging especially when anywhere we go we need accessibility for my son that is in a wheelchair. Voozeki is 8, his primary diagnosis is Cerebral Palsy along with quadriplegia, dystonia, spasticity, g-tube fed, and nonverbal. Voozeki was born unresponsive and took more than 25 minutes to bring him back. Our lives were forever changed and adapting to our new reality has been a grand journey. Ever since the kids were very small we decided to take them out into public areas as much as possible to not only expose my high risk son to the world as well as to be available to educate and spread awareness in our community. My husband and I have taken turns staying at home while the other works to maintain our family responsibilities. Vacations are few and far in between due to finances and the many variables of my son's condition. If we get a chance to go out on "vacay" it is usually because we are there for a Doctor's appointment. We generally take advantage of our beautiful town and try to do staycations when possible. A vacation anywhere would be a great experience to share with our kiddos and create long lasting memories for our family.