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PROJECT MARIPOSA :: IPAD GRANTS #161-170

November 22, 2013 by Victoria Strong

Today we are granting TEN iPads, yes 10! Thanks to the generous support of Jadon's Hope Foundation, today ten more lives will be changed. Congratulations to all the incredible recipients: Elise, Torrance, Gregory, Heather, Hailey, Alex, Avery, Sheyenne, Presley, and Donna. We can't wait to hear how your new iPad opens your wings and makes your world more accessible.

{Project Mariposa} Grant #161: Elise Sonnenberg, Wisconsin :: "Elise was born a healthy beautiful baby. At her 4 month checkup she hadn't met the developmental milestones; likely just needing physical therapy. We ended up in the PICU shortly afterwards for 9 weeks as Elise had contracted RSV and almost didn't make it. The doctors ran tests and found that Elise has SMA Type 1. All through her illness Elise proved that she is a FIGHTER. She made it past many dark days and through it all spread JOY to all she met. We knew that our girl was going to triumph over her respiratory illness and make it home. And home she came! Elise is a very happy 1 year old, she enjoys having a chance to use our touchscreen phones to send text messages to her Grandparents and to look at photos of our family. Recently she was hospitalized due to an illness and had a chance to try out an iPad with buttons and she was a rock star! She proved that she understood our directions and used the iPad to tell Mommy that she wanted a pacifier smile. Our little one is so ready to communicate more with us and an iPad would help her accomplish that. iPads are an amazing tool for little ones like our Elise. I was overjoyed to see her manipulate the buttons and tell us things that she wanted. She loves being able to tap on touchscreens and make things happen. Thank you for supporting so many families through these gifts."

{Project Mariposa} Grant #162: Torrance Johnson, Michigan :: "Torrance Johnson Jr. is a seven year old boy with SMA type 2/3. He is the youngest of four children. Torrance is a brilliant little boy and has an amazing disposition, but he is struggling because the disease is taking his physical abilities from him. Sadly, he can no longer stand or walk, is rapidly losing the ability to move around his home on his knees, is now dependent on bipap at night to sleep, and needs a feeding tube. Although Torrance Jr. has been relatively stable health-wise, his family has given up so much because of this disease. They have rented out their home in Detroit and relocated to an area with better schools. Torrance Sr. is currently experiencing severe health problems and is unable to work. Money is tight for them right now, and as difficult as life is, as much as SMA keeps taking from Torrance, an iPad would be wonderful for him -- to help with schoolwork, to create with, to dream, to play. An iPad would be great to allow him to do things with his mind that he can't with his body."

{Project Mariposa} Grant #163: Gregory Haynes, Pennsylvania :: "Gregory was diagnosed with SMA type 2 on his 2nd birthday. He is now 9. He has a had a hard and difficult life, but he is smart and affectionate. Although wheelchair bound, his high spirits do not keep him behind. He is currently being tested for gifted and I believe an iPad would help Gregory escape the every day struggles he endures and allow him to focus on something he loves which is learning, listening to music, and taking pictures. His fine motor skills are not very good because of SMA and he has significant tremors. I believe an iPad would really help him exercise his mind as well as his hands. In addition, we recently learned that Gregory needs surgery and will be on bed rest for about 4 weeks. The iPad will be a major benefit and source of independence during this time. It would greatly be a blessing if Gregory was chosen as we do not have the means to purchase something of this nature."

{Project Mariposa} Grant #164: Heather Kerstetter, District of Columbia :: "I am a graduate student at Gallaudet University, studying to get my Master's in Linguistics and plan on applying to Law School. I think that having an iPad will be fundamental and extraordinary to help me succeed. The iPad would be light enough for me to carry around and would positively impact my life because it would make activities (taking notes, checking emails, coordinating schedules, etc.) much easier. Right now, in order to accomplish these simple tasks, I have to carry around a laptop which is difficult for me to use in a classroom setting. I also imagine an iPad would help with scholarly research once I have delved into that area a bit deeper. This is a stunning project. Thank you kindly for offering this to the SMA community."

{Project Mariposa} Grant #165: Hailey Welch, Washington :: "Hailey is our 11 year old daughter, whom we homeschool. She is vivacious and full of energy and very intelligent. She absolutely LOVES to read. She is starting to have trouble holding up her books, and turning the pages. We've tried different book holders, but she still can't turn the pages with those. An iPad would be very helpful in this area. Also, we live about two and a half hours from Seattle Children's Hospital. This would help alleviate boredom while waiting and stress at doctors appointments, as well as during the long drive. Hailey's four year old brother, Caleb, is also presumed to have SMA type 2. This would be a great tool for him now, to play games and watch movies, as well as read when he is older. Unfortunately, we don't qualify for a lot of programs that help with medical bills. Our insurance leaves a lot of balances on these. Money is really tight, and currently, we just can't afford an iPad. Thank you for your consideration!"

{Project Mariposa} Grant #166: Alex Blair, New York :: "Alex is in 5th grade, is 10 years old, and has SMA 2. He had VEPTR surgery in May and although his back is much straighter and we knew this would help him in the long run with respiratory issues, we and he have noticed that he does not have the arm function that he used to have. I guess it is because his arm distance is farther from his body and he just doesn't have the strength to use them like he used to. Something we never even thought of. He used to be able feed himself finger food but can no longer do that. He also used to be able to write his name and draw smile faces and can't do that anymore either. To help, the school wanted him to use a program called iWord. There is a microphone icon that he can push when he is on his side. He pushes it then speaks and pushes it again to stop recording. Then the words automatically type what he has said. It is so amazing and he is so proud that he is able to do his classwork this way. We are hoping to get him the latest iPad version so he can "independently" do his homework at home and feel as though he has the ability to do so. He loves to read and it is just a great escape for him and our library has a new system compatible with the iPad 2 to "take out books" and I was hoping that would be an option for him. As of this time, we are currently saving to send our older son to college next year. Since Alex was diagnosed with SMA 10 years ago, I have not worked so we are on a single income. But we are hoping to somehow get the latest iPad for Alex so he can continue learning and reading and playing to the best of his ability."

{Project Mariposa} Grant #167: Avery Wheeler, California:: "Avery Lynn Wheeler was diagnosed at the age of 17 months with SMA type 2. She is the best, funniest little girl I know. She loves to sing and dance with her little brother, also type 2, but is limited with her mobility. I know she would benefit so much from having a iPad at home, especially as she learns her letters, colors, and numbers. Thank you so much for considering us."

{Project Mariposa} Grant #168: Sheyenne Whitley, Texas:: "Sheyenne was born on April 29 2013 as a healthy baby girl. At the age of 2 months, like all Type 1 kids, she seemed very floppy and started to have respiratory issues. At the age of 3 months Sheyenne was hospitalized due to aspirated pneumonia and was soon diagnosed with SMA. Sheyenne was in the PICU for months but is now home and doing better every day. Even while in the PICU, despite all the tubes, she was still smiles all the time and very interested in everything. To keep her occupied we tried our laptop and portable DVD player which work to an extent but these devices do not allow any interaction on her part. We have found a few apps for our cell phones but with the small screen size and her very limited mobility they are not very effective. We believe that an iPad would be ideal for her and as she grows it will help her communicate‎ with us."

{Project Mariposa} Grant #169: Presley Moreno, Utah:: "Presley is 6 years old, has SMA Type 3, and started 1st grade this year. She was so excited for her first day of school. But after the first day I realized a big change in Presley. Presley has gone from an outgoing little girl to a child that's not sure about herself or why she is different. She is very smart but is struggling with the first grade writing because her arms tire. Now that there's a big playground with a lot more children, she tends to go to the side of the school with her back against the wall and just sit. She's starting to ask questions now on why she can't run and why she's not like the other kids. If she were granted an iPad it would allow her to keep up with her work, get less fatigued when writing and still learn to read. It would also give her something to do with the other children during recess that isn't physical. She is in a clinical trial and the iPad would also help her keep on target with school when she has to miss days for it and would keep her occupied during those long hospital days. She is a fighter and is working so hard at fighting SMA. Thanks for all you do!"

{Project Mariposa} Grant #170: Donna Walker, Georgia:: "My name is Donna and I'm 44, have Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 2, and I'm confined to an electric chair. First I want to say thank you for this opportunity. I have not been able to afford an iPad as I only draw $710 monthly and barely afford utilities and food, so this kind of luxury is out of the question. I have an old desk top computer but it does not work well. If you wiggle cords and cables, which I can't do myself, it only comes on sometimes and then it's in and out. I live in the country and can't get out much. An iPad would be my link to the outside world. I love to read but have trouble with pages in books. With the iPad I could independently learn about new places and things and could communicate with family. The best thing about me is my mind and an iPad could open new doors for me and give me freedom."

APPLY >> If you'd like to apply to be a Project Mariposa recipient, please visit ProjectMariposa.com to fill out an application. Remember this is not a contest or a giveaway. Applicants are carefully chosen by theGSF board based solely on information YOU provide. Please include information about how the applicant will succeed using the iPad and what you think they will be able to do that they can't do without it.

HELP PROJECT MARIPOSA CONTINUE TO GROW >> We've been able to grant 170 iPads to those facing severe disabilities because of the generous support of people like YOU. Support Project Mariposa by becoming an official Project Mariposa Sponsor or making a targeted, tax-deductible donation. YOU. 

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