Mighty Matthew Cech is a superhero, who “isn't afraid of anything and never gets tired.” He chooses to face his diagnosis (Mito disease complex l and lll and CIPO) with strength and bravery, just like the masked defenders in our favorite comic books.
But even a superhero needs a sidekick sometimes. Four and a half years ago, Mighty Matthew received his first Binkeez blanket. He declared that the soft bumps sewn into the Binkeez fabric were “magic bumps” and found great comfort in their touch. To this day, Mighty Matthew brings one of his three Binkeez blankets to doctor’s appointments, ER visits, hospital stays, and even into the OR.
Imagine being a new mother. Now imagine being a new mother of twins, both of whom have autism, then founding a non-profit support group for other families of children with autism. Feel tired yet? Fortunately, Nikki Busalacchi, founder of On the Spectrum Autism Support Group, didn’t give in.
When you visit Kids Enjoy Exercise Now, LA (KEEN LA)’s website you’ll see one of the organization’s participants wearing a t-shirt that reads, “The best days are KEEN days.” What are KEEN days? We’re glad you asked. On KEEN days, the non-profit organization Kids Enjoy Exercise Now, LA (KEEN Los Angeles chapter) hosts free events for community members to come together to dance, play, and engage in other fun, physical activities. These days truly are the best days, because the kids typically picked first for teams and those who are often overlooked by their peers show up and play together to their hearts’ content!
Six-year-old Emerson is a fun, feisty, funny, slightly sassy, smiley, recently-promoted-from-kindergarten, girl who likes Trolls, swimming, reading, and riding horses, and also happens to have cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Emerson actively crushes assumptions about what a little girl in a wheelchair who is non-verbal is like. She even grabbed Senator Kamala Harris’s attention when Sen. Harris was fighting to save the ACA and Medi-Cal.
Fox and Trove’s mission statement reads, bolded and in all caps, “WE ARE ON A MISSION TO CHANGE THE WORLD OUR KIDS GROW UP IN BY TEACHING THEM HOW TO BE KIND AND BRAVE.” Just that tiny little goal. To change the world in which our kids grow up. Not at all daunting. Co-founders Jami Schaer and Laura Wood believe they can achieve it, and they are making changing the world easy, engaging, and fun!
If you love a kiddo with Down syndrome, you may be able to relate to the fear many soon-to-be parents feel when their doctors tell them their baby will be born with an extra chromosome and that that 21st chromosome will mean their kid may face a whole host of medical challenges during their lifetime. Fast forward a bit, though, and lots of those same parents find that the fear has been replaced by joy.
Little Rosemary loves the homemade crackers her parents bake, though maybe not just for the reasons you’d expect. They are actually part of the strict keto diet (short for “ketogenic”) that ended her epileptic seizures.
István is sometimes known as Tiny Mister Fort Hood, a role he takes seriously. It was an important honor for this aspiring special needs model and actor, but also an opportunity to support a cause that’s important to him.
Justin is like every kiddo—he loves to play outdoors, camp, play soccer and baseball, invent things, and be creative. He also loves frogs, which might seem like just another thing he has in common with lots of 6-year-olds...except he’s taken that love and turned it into an idea that will do so much more!
How to describe Wesley? If you ask around the PLAE office you’ll hear many answers of “hello jello!”—his favorite greeting—and lots of stories from those Wesley has made smile, giggle, and roll with laughter. You might say he’s a sweet spirit, a hyper mischief-maker, and at the end of the day, just like any other kiddo.