July 13, 2012 by Victoria Strong

Each week we announce the Project Mariposa grant recipients on our Facebook fan page. We can't believe that in just 23 weeks we have granted 50 iPads to those with spinal muscular atrophy. 50! Now that is a milestone! And if you missed the news, we just announced that number is doubling to 100 iPads this year. We won't be granting an iPad today, but will be back to it next Friday. Here are the latest Project Mariposa recipients from the last month. We know you will be moved by their increidble stories: 

{WEEK NINETEEN} Grantee #46: Max McDonnell, Oregon :: I have SMA Type 2 and I'm now 36 years old. SMA has caused me to have gradually progressive weakness. I used to live in my own apartment and drive a powerchair. Now I live my life from bed, except to visit my medical specialists by ambulance. Despite being bed bound and ventilator dependent, I love my life, and would not trade it. I spend my time making friends online. I love cheering folks up and helping them to be positive. Right now I'm accessing the internet with a laptop. But increased muscle weakness causes me to tire out much faster than I used to. Having an iPad that could be positioned to maximize the effect of my muscular efforts would allow me to reach out to more people online. And it would be great for helping to entertain me. I wasn't able to finish my bachelors degree due to my SMA. I did take classes again after getting my trach and did well. But later I had to move out of my apartment and into an adult foster care home. The love of learning that has characterized me all my life is still very strong. With an iPad I could take advantage of some of the free online courses that universities are beginning to offer. Lastly, I'd like to share my personal motto. 'There may be many things in life that are out of my control. But I can always choose how I'm going to react.' Congratulations Max! We hope this iPad grant helps you access the world. 

{WEEK TWENTY} Grantee #47: Devin Arnold, Tennessee :: Devin was diagnosed with SMA Type 1 when he was 3 months old. Devin is going to be 10 years old this August. He loves learning, music, movies, animals, reading, and everything that all little boys do. He loves technology and playing on the computer with mommy and his nurses. He would be using the iPad for education and play. Devin would love an iPad and it would be such a blessing. Congratulations Devin. We hope this iPad grant brings you joy and independence! 

{WEEK TWENTY ONE} Grantee #48: Shaun Lesniak, Connecticut :: "Shaun was diagnosed with SMA Type 2 at 19 months. In spite of this devastating diagnosis, he has excelled in his local public school system. Shaun was recently commended by the National Merit Scholarship Program based on his PSAT scores from last year. He took the SATs this year and scored even better. He is planning on attending college in the fall and an iPad would give him greater independence. Currently he must ask a teacher/fellow student to retrieve his school issued laptop from his backpack on the back of his wheelchair and set it up for him on his wheelchair tray at the start of the school day and reverse the process at the end. Shaun would be able to carry and manipulate an iPad quite easily and independently due to its lighter weight and smaller size. He would be able to do research, email and yes, play games and watch movies, without having to ask for assist ance. We can not afford to purchase an iPad for him and we would be honored to have one granted to him from theGSF." Congratulations Shaun. And we hope this iPad helps you in your exciting college endeavors!

{WEEK TWENTY TWO} Grantee #49: Josef Stoop, California :: "Our JoeJoe was diagnosed with SMA Type II at age of 18 months. He is a blessing and inspiration to our family, church, friends and his school. He is the middle of our 3 kids, the older brother to Dominik who was diagnosed with SMA 10 days after JoeJoe. JoeJoe has begun to develop contractures in his wrists and forearms and has difficulty with feeding and writing. HIs teacher at school lets him use his iPad and has told us, although he is not even 3, he knows how to fully maneuver the thing. We also have been told that due to the contractures, technology will inevitably be a huge part of his life and the sooner we get him accustomed the better. JoeJoe would be able to use the iPad at school, home or even while in the hospital. What a joy it would be for him to use this device to further develop his cognitive development and for him not to struggle or tire to do things like write or color. Please consider our JoeJoe, he's an awesome dude." Congratulations JoeJoe! We know you will love using your new iPad to learn new things!

{WEEK TWENTY THREE} Grantee #50: Kirstynn Glenn, California :: "Kirstynn is 12-years-old; diagnosed at age 3 with SMA Type 3. She has been the MDA Goodwill Ambassador for 7 years and gives her time and spreads awareness graciously. We are all affected by her disease. Orginally from Missouri, she now lives with me, her grandmother, as well as her two sisters. Having an iPad would be awesome for her as she would be able to take it with her when we have very long days at the hospital or doctor appointments. She could use it to read books, play a game, watch a movie and catch up on school work that she is often behind on due to her SMA. SMA tires her out so much that it limits what she can do. An iPad would be such a blessing to allow Kirstynn to do all that she wants to do!" Congratulations Kirstynn. We can't wait to hear about your successes! 

Congratulations everyone! We can't wait to hear about your exciting future with your new iPad.

To learn more about this program click the image below or visit

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Project Mariposa Project Mariposa

"Project Mariposa" is an initiative of the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation (theGSF) with a simple mission: to make the world more accessible to those with severe disabilities through iPad technology...

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