Easter Seals Held Our Hand During the Dark Part
by Robert Kelly
Easter Seals Camp Sno-Mo Director
February 24, 2013
Editors Note: During the Easter Seals Ride-In, we got to meet this amazing family. It was their first ride-in, and in the words of Kelli Mead "they thought they were going to get a weekend away in the North Country with their family. What they actually got was an outpouring of love and support from dozens of snowmobilers that was truly life changing". Here is the story about how Easter Seals helped them and their son Carter Mead deal with some rare birth defects.
Carter Mead is a true Early Intervention
success story! Because of the Early Intervention services that Carter
received, from just after birth through age three, he is now learning, growing
and achieving his dreams just like his peers – something that was not always a
certainty for this smart, loving, amazing little boy.
Born with a condition called tretramelia, Carter is missing bones throughout his body which resulted in anomalies on all four limbs. For his parents, Mike and Kelli, the time following Carter’s birth was extremely difficult.
“We were in complete shock and crisis and sometimes it was all just a blur. I remember looking over and saying ‘where is his hand’,” recalls Kelli of his birth. In the months to follow, Kelli continues, “we couldn’t function. Our world was spinning out of control; we didn’t know how to cope.” And coping was critical.
Kelli and Mike not only had a newborn with a severe medical condition, but also 2-year-old son Chase to care for, careers and the daily business of life. Weeks went by and they didn’t leave the house—dealing with the stares and comments in public was difficult. Their financial situation worsened, relationships with friends and family suffered, and there was always the constant worry about their little boy.
Help came in the form of Easter Seals Early Intervention Occupational Therapist Maggie Tetreault who began home visits with the Meads when Carter was just three months old.
“Thank God there was somebody there to guide us because we were lost and in the dark and that is the slowest form of suicide,” says Mike of those early visits with Maggie. “We were just getting by.”
From Maggie’s first visit she focused on Carter’s physical and emotional needs as well as the needs of everyone in the Mead family, especially after the amputation of Carter’s left lower leg and foot at 6 months old—a procedure necessary to increase his mobility. From advice, to support, to services, to a shoulder to cry on—Maggie helped put the Meads “on a path to happiness” and became part of their family.
Today Carter is a thriving seven year-old boy. He is strong, happy and fearless. Carter stays very busy, attending first grade, playing at the playground, riding his bike, taking karate lessons, keeping up with his big brother, and working hard to maximize his prosthetic leg. At the end of 2012, he received a Segway from Easter Seals Board Member Kevin Duffy to help him get to all the places he needs to go. “He doesn’t let anything slow him down,” says Kelli.
The same can be said of the entire family—collectively they have found comfort and joy in their lives. They are a strong family, prepared to face the world and any challenges that may lie ahead. Recently, Carter was named the Easter Seals NH Child Representative. He and his family will travel to Easter Seals events and speaking engagements sharing their story.
“Easter Seals made us feel like a family again,” says Kelli. “Easter Seals gave me hope for my family and hope for my son.” ❄
We would like to thank
all of the generous donors who again made WMRR the top fundraising club in
Coos County and the third top fundraising club in the State. Because of your donations, 7 kids
will be able to attend Camp Sno Mo this summer tuition free! Their stay at camp will build
confidence and friendships that will last a lifetime. Thanks for your donations!