As the Washington Elks Therapy Program for Children celebrates 60 years of service, one Pasco family shares how the free program helped them through one of the toughest times of their lives.
PASCO, WA - As the Washington Elks Therapy Program for Children celebrates 60 years of service, one Pasco family shares how the free program helped them through one of the toughest times of their lives.
In September 2009, Joe and Robyn Meyer's son, Abraham, was diagnosed with meningitis--an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal chord--and suffered a stroke when he was just 10-months-old.
Abraham was found unresponsive at home and was airlifted to Sacred Heart Children's Hospital in Spokane, where doctors made the discovery.
"When he was first in the hospital, they said to be prepared because he may never wake up and then he may never sit up--he may never roll over and he may never walk," said Joe Meyer, Abraham's father.
But Abraham, who is now 5-years-old, would beat the odds and he had a helping hand to carry him along the way.
"He was basically starting from scratch again. he had very little skills after his incident," said Carrie Hallquist, a pediatric occupational therapist with the Washington Elks Therapy Program for Children.
Hallquist has been working with Abraham since he came home from the hospital. She's one of 15 therapist who make up the program. On average, each therapist sees between 20-25 families every year.
Hallquist, who has been with the program for about 18 years, visits the family once a week.
"Right away, she came in and monitored Abraham and what he could and couldn't do. what was our goals and that took a load off my shoulders," said Robyn Meyer, Abraham's mother.
Hallquist started helping Abraham reach the milestones doctors warned he may never see. Joe and Robyn, who have three other children, said having the therapy sessions at home helped Abraham significantly.
"It worked really well because she was able to incorporate his twin brother into a lot of the therapy because he didn't have some of the same problems--so she could show his twin brother how to do it and then Abraham could look at his brother as an example," said Joe.
Abraham still has some weakness on the right side of his body due to the stroke, but his confidence continues to grow every day. He starts kindergarten in the fall.
If you'd like to learn more about the Washington Elks Therapy Program for Children or how to be considered for the free service, click here or call 1-800-825-3557.