Thanksgiving is one of the most family-oriented holidays on the calendar. It is a time to be thankful for all the blessings we have received throughout the year. We would like to take a moment to reflect on some of the blessing God has sent our way this past year.
A lot has happened over the last 6 weeks at Scherer Resources since the program began this new school year.
Cerebral Palsy is a disability that Jeff was born with and it is something we all had to accept. Prior to having Jeff we were not exposed to people that had to live with physical or mental limitations. With the birth of our second son we quickly realized that our lives were going to change forever. We would like to share some of the obstacles we have had to face as caregivers of a son who was born with cerebral palsy. Jeff came into this world 2 months early weighing 2lb 12 oz. Because Jeff was so little and came into the world early he had to spend 2 months in the hospital. Jeff came home from the hospital weighing 4 lbs. 6 oz. My neighbor offered to trade a 5lb bag of sugar for Jeff. Our son was very delayed in speaking. He did not speak until he was about 2 years old but when he did begin speaking it was in complete sentences. He has a great memory and can remember information about sports and people. When he was young he loved to have books read to him. We read him a Peewee Herman book so much that he was able to memorize the book and read it back to us when he was only 3 years old. He did graduate from high school with a core 40 diploma and has an Associate Degree from Ivy Tech in Business Management. Did you know that six out of ten people with cerebral palsy have normal to superior intelligence?
Because of the Jeff’s cerebral palsy, Mike and I found ourselves getting up every hour at night to roll Jeff from one side to the other to assure he received a good night sleep. It only took a couple of months, we were slow learners, to decide as caregivers we needed to get a good night sleep as well. The following weekend we went out shopping to purchase a new high end mattress for Jeff’s bed. Within the next few weeks he was sleeping the night through without being adjusted every hour. The best thing about this experience was that Mike and I were also able to get a good night sleep. Did you know one in three people with cerebral palsy cannot walk?
As caregivers of a son with a disability many activities most children can do for themselves Jeff cannot. We do enjoy meal time as a family, but one of us or both need to feed Jeff his meals. Jeff can select his own clothing to wear but he cannot dress himself. Did you know about one in four people with cerebral palsy cannot feed or dress themselves?
Even with all these items Jeff cannot do he always wakes up in the morning with a smile. He always tells us to have a great day. We would respond that we would try. We would then tell him to have a great day and he would always respond with “I always have a great day”. If you check Jeff’s Facebook account you will notice that many of his posts begin with “It’s a great day to be alive.”
Jeff was born into a family with a father (Steve), mother (Cathy), and older brother (Jon) of course on his own schedule, 2 months early. We spent Jeff's younger years making sure that we were offering him the necessary therapies and surgeries that would make his body function. Then our life changed again when Jeff was 11 and Jon was 13, their father was diagnosed with melanoma cancer. Steve lost his battle with cancer and we became a family of 3. I can remember many nights when I would drive Jeff to his appointments while Jeff and Jon worked on Jeff's homework in the back of our van, With faith in God, I was blessed with a new father and family for my sons. Mike and I were married in 1997. Mike added two sons and I added a daughter Natalie as well as grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins to our family.
Mike was working in Argus, In. when we first meet. I was a math teacher Woodlan Jr, Sr, High School. We quickly realized this was not going to work. AWS was hiring and Mike became the director of the AWS Industrial Operations which was great for us.
We have had many great and some very trying experiences raising Jeff over the last 29 years. During our next communications we would like to share some of these memories with our readers. Mike and I do not have all the answers but we would be honored to share and hopefully help others that many be experiencing issues as a caregiver to the disabled.
We are the parents of a 29 year old son with cerebral palsy. Jeffrey has a great mind but limited control of his body. Scherer Resources a nonprofit was started to help young adults with disabilities find meaningful employment