The Dexter Family

Timmy is the first of three children. Born at 39 weeks after an almost uneventful pregnancy, his Apgar scores were normal. To us, Timmy seemed like a healthy baby boy…just every parents wish.

At the same time we had Timmy other friends we knew were having their first born too. Just as most first time parents do, we made comparisons of our son to their children. At every turn, while other parents were greeted with news of friends children who met their milestones — sitting, crawling, walking — we had nothing to report about Timmy. Finally after seeking    professional advice,  Timmy was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and as a result, our world was filled with questions. Why? What will happen to Timmy? How do we treat it? How will he be accepted by society? Will there be a cure soon…if ever in Timmy lifetime?

For Timmy’s sake our family has spent too many hours to count searching for hope in the way of treatments, doctors, therapists, schools, and activities to help. We are thankful for the people we have found who have surrounded us with support, but we still find that it’s not enough to give Timmy the ability to be independent.

Today,  Timmy is a very happy child that goes to therapy multiple times a week and goes to a special education program in the public schools.  Simply, Timmy loves life and enjoys activities that every eight year old boy does…with one exception…he needs almost 100 percent assistance to participate. Timmy wants so much to run on the playground, draw pictures with his sisters, and eat ice cream out of a cone…but none of the dozen or so treatments we have tried, including major surgery, makes this possible.

In our travels over the Internet, we were fortunate to learn about Ryan Schneider and his extraordinary cord blood treatment at Duke University. While his mother Mary and I have become like sisters and share information at every chance, we know there are promising tomorrows especially on the way in terms of use of stem cells. We are so convinced that this will help Timmy that we banked his sisters’ cord blood and placenta, his own baby teeth, and are looking at a potential bone-marrow treatment.

We are thankful that this Congress and Administration have opened doors to new opportunities in the way of stem cell research, but number of treatments in this area, especially available now for children with CP can be counted on one hand.  Please help fund and support research so we can give Timmy and children like him the gift of the childhood they deserve.

Shari Dexter

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