It’s natural for 2 year olds to be curious. They want to grab, shake, and eat (!) everything they can get their hands on. For Derek, however, being curious can be a bit frustrating when you can’t hold anything heavier than a few ounces.
At three weeks of age, Derek was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 1 (SMA 1). This rare autosomal recessive genetic condition destroys motor neuron function. Because of this, Derek has severely limited movement (needing to be carried everywhere and turned during sleep), respiratory complications, and loss of swallowing ability.
To assist with his needs, Derek’s family (Mom Megan, Dad David, and 6-year-old brother Alex) have had to adapt their home dramatically. Derek is constantly monitored either by family members or nurses. He needs to be fed every four hours during the day and is attached to a feeding pump at night. He has equipment to assist with breathing, suctioning, and movement.
Despite these hardships, Derek is a smiling trooper. With regular cognitive functioning, Derek is aware of his surrounding and wants to participate in all activities. Outdoor activities require a personal cooling system as Derek has difficulty managing his body temperature.
Not surprisingly, the costs for Derek’s family are mounting. While David continues to work as a member of the New York Police Department, Megan has been on child care leave to take care of Derek’s needs. Financial assistance will allow the family to continue purchasing the necessary components of Derek’s treatment and the desired extras to give Derek a happy life.
Your donation can help us share a bit of happiness, hope, and comfort in the lives of Derek and families like his. Please consider a donation to Five Fathers Children’s Charity.