April 26, 2013 by Victoria Strong

Today we are granting 5 Project Mariposa iPad grants. FIVE. This brings the total iPads granted through this initiative to 125! 125 lives changed, made easier, made more accessible. 125 individuals with Spinal Muscular Atrophy are now able to do things they previously struggled with or could not do at all. And it would not be possible without the generous support of individual donors and like-minded organizations.

We are thrilled to introduce you to Project Mariposa grant recipients #121 - 125. Caleb, Joshua, Isabella, Ellyn, and Jaylah. They are amazing!  

{Project Mariposa} Grant #121: Caleb Elmer, Wisconsin :: "Caleb is a wonderful 13 month old boy with an incredibly infectious smile that can melt the heart of anyone. He was officially diagnosed with SMA type 1 last summer and was soon admitted to the hospital for almost a month when he lost his ability to swallow and hold up his head and arms. When Caleb was first introduced to the iPad with his Physical Therapist in the hospital, his eyes exploded with excitement! He seemed so proud to be able use it by himself! Caleb isn't able to 'play' with his two older siblings, but I believe with the iPad he would be able to enjoy the freedom of playing with his siblings in a whole new and exciting way! He's trying to communicate and we can tell he gets frustrated at times. He doesn't have much movement left in his hands, and hasn't formed any words. He used to click his tongue to "talk", but he can't do that anymore either. But, he is trying so hard! His big brother and sister actively try to help him...he is so loved. We were told of the endless possibilities an iPad can provide him, and we would give him the world if we could. We are SO proud of Caleb and so touched to be considered for this. He is such a bright little boy and his eyes burst with excitement when he is able to do something by himself...even if it is as little as waving bye bye with a finger. Thank you for considering our family. Mr. Caleb and so many children deserve the world at their fingertips."

{Project Mariposa} Grant #122: Joshua Monteiro, Tennessee :: "Joshua is a happy young man with bright dreams and ambitions for the future. Joshua attends high school in a very small rural community in Middle Tennessee. The school system does not have the resources necessary to accommodate children with disabilities with technology such as iPads. We are confident that the use of an iPad will assist Joshua in reaching his greatest potential in school as he struggles everyday with the simplest tasks in class. Joshua has expressed the desire for an iPad knowing it will help him better communicate with his teachers, peers, and at home. We do the best we can to provide for Joshua everything that he needs to enjoy life and to be as successful as possible. But, unfortunately, we are not able to purchase an iPad. We are positive that an iPad granted to Joshua will improve his moral, his education, and his general outlook on life. From the bottom of our hearts my wife and I would like to say "Thank you" for all that you do!"

{Project Mariposa} Grant #123: Isabella Perge, Michigan :: "Isabella is three years old and has SMA Type 2. She was previously able to crawl, pull to stand and walk along furniture, but has quickly regressed, and has lost all ability except to sit when placed in a seated position. She does not have the hand strength to properly manipulate her fingers to sign or grasp a pen firmly enough to control writing. Having an iPad would open up a world of possibility for Isabella to grow more independent and communicate more effectively with her classmates, parents, and brother. Isabella has a strong working knowledge of the iOS platform, which she has gained from utilizing an iPhone. It would be amazing to have a way for Isabella to share her knowledge and personality more effectively with the world!"

{Project Mariposa} Grant #124: Ellyn Kearney, California :: "As a 47 year old woman with SMA type 1, I am blessed to have made it to this ripe old age! It has been my desire not just to survive, but to thrive and reach the goals I have set for myself as independently as possible, though I've always required full personal care. At 18, I attended university, living on campus for 4 years. While there, I was heavily involved in student activities, disability rights, and earned BA's in Spanish and Psychology. Next, I moved from CT to CA on my own to attend graduate school, where I completed MA's in Theology and Inter-Cultural Studies. I have worked for the State of CT, non-profit organizations, and in private practice as a pastoral counselor. Currently, I advocate for disabled individuals and offer volunteer counseling. An iPad would allow me to use the computer as I did prior to my arms weakening. Because it is small and light, with a touch screen keyboard, I would once again be able to type! Keeping up with research and current events are critical to both of my fields and books/magazines are unwieldy nowadays. The iPad would allow me easy access to these materials. Kudos on implementing a truly effective union of technology and disability thought Project Mariposa!"

{Project Mariposa} Grant #125: Jaylah Marie Adame, California :: "Since Jaylah was born, I noticed something was wrong. When I took Jaylah to the doctor for her vaccinations I brought to the doctors attention how floppy & weak her arms, legs and head were but they simply said she was lazy. Right before Jaylah turned 3 months I rushed her into the ER but after a month long stay the doctors still didn't know what was wrong with her. After another breathing scare and month-long hospital stay they finally diagnosed her with SMA Type 1. It was devastating to hear 'She will not live to see her 2nd birthday.' But what made me stronger was her. Her smile. Her sweet expressive eyes. I just couldn’t give up. This past year has been wonderful. My husband and I exercise with Jaylah, love on her, and give her as many opportunities as we can. She loves using a touch screen phone, especially music and games. It would not only be helpful for her to be able to see colors and touch a bigger screen, but I know that she would love it. I would like to thank you sooo much for making a huge difference in an SMA child's life. I have been following the previous stories and it is just wonderful seeing so many be able to control this device with just a touch. It gives us so much hope for our Jaylah."

Congratulations everyone! We can't wait to hear how you are all using your new iPad and how it is opening your world. Learn more about the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation's iPad support program, meet past grant recipients, or apply for your child. 

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