Thanks to Variety – The Children’s Charity of Florida, children like Evan will have a better quality of life through increased mobility.
Shortly after Evan was born, his mother, Casey Schaefer, was told Evan had craniosynostosis, a birth defect in which the bones in a baby’s skull join together too early. He had several surgeries to help alleviate the pressure in his brain; he also has some developmental delays that resulted in limited mobility.
Evan and Schaefer were at UCF’s Innovative Mobility Initiative (IMOVE) Lab to show Variety board members the impact of their generosity. The lab has padded floors, adaptive toys and a support harness system designed to get children on their feet and play as part of their therapy.
“My friends and I were pregnant all around the same time,” said Schaefer. “Now, their children are up running and talking, and Evan just learned how to sit by himself before Christmas.”
As Evan moved around with the harness and the help of his therapists, Cami Osier, a physical therapist and recent UCF graduate, and Hannah Webster, a current student in UCF’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, it was evident the joy he received from being able to move around and play.
“I cannot tell you how much your support means,” said Schaefer. “It is a way for Evan to be able to play, something we never thought he would be able to do.”
Schaefer discovered UCF Go Baby Go! through a social media group, and contacted its program director, Jennifer Tucker, a clinical assistant professor with UCF Physical Therapy. Tucker and her team evaluated Evan to determine the best course of therapy. He will receive a customized modified toy car that allows children with mobility issues to “drive” themselves around. His car is being built in September at a Go Baby Go! Kids Building for Kids workshop at a local elementary school. Tucker and her graduate students regularly partner with area schools and organizations to build the cars for kids like Evan.
“UCF Go Baby Go! is incredibly fortunate to have supportive community partners. Variety – The Children’s Charity of Florida shares a passion for providing children with the gift of mobility,” Tucker said. “Together we will offer children in Central Florida opportunities for both participation and play. We are so grateful for their support and the opportunity to work together.”
The Florida chapter of Variety was formed in 1990 by Connie Ginakes and Donna Draves to help children with a serious illness, disability or disadvantage. Their gift to UCF Go Baby Go! will help provide accessible, inexpensive and common-sense solutions for kids and adults with limited mobility.