Project Mariposa :: {WEEK TEN} iPad Grants #22-31

April 06, 2012 by Victoria Strong

If you follow us on Facbook, then you saw the surprise >> Today we are granting ten iPads. TEN. 10! Project Mariposa has now grown from our initial goal of 50 iPads in 50 weeks to 75 iPads in 50 weeks and we are so thrilled...but we want to do more. There is such a need. These incredible tools are truly changing lives. Want to see Project Mariposa swell to 100...200...beyond? You can help by donating, hosting a fundraiser for theGSF, or becoming an official Project Mariposa Sponsor. An enormous THANK YOU to all the many people who have supported the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation. It is because of your support and your belief in us and our mission that we are able to create programs such as this. Please know that you are making an incredible difference.

Introducing Project Mariposa {WEEK TEN} Grant Recipients #22-31. Congratulations to all of you! 

Grantee #22 :: "R" (R's identity cannot be shared publicly at this time) :: "R" is a sweet, precious, nearly 3-year-old with Type 2 SMA who is currently in foster care. SMA was suspected from 5-months-old but at age two her foster parents were finally able to have the testing done to confirm her SMA diagnosis. Recently she had a rough hospitalization requiring increased breathing support. She is very precocious and curious and is always excited to be learning -- from waking up in the morning right up until bedtime. She spends many hours a day with therapists or traveling to therapy and appointments and working in her home on programs. The iPad would open the whole world up to her! When she is doing therapy she wants to sing and listen to stories. Her foster parents are working hard to give her every experience available to her. They are looking to provide her with everything she needs to grow and develop in the world.

Grantee #23 :: Maliyah Chung, British Columbia, Canada :: Maliyah was diagnosed with SMA Type 2 at 14 months. She is now a beautiful 3-year-old. Maliyah is our inspiration and she is our teacher. She has taught us never to give up, to live life to the fullest, to treat others with respect and value the diversity of human beings. She has a smile that lights up our life and she has a way of drawing others close. Maliyah loves music and singing. She loves to move and dance. She loves to draw like her older brother. She always wants to watch family videos of our family adventures! An iPad will allow her to learn new things, grow and introduce her to technology that will become part of her life. The many applications with the iPad will allow her to draw and paint. SMA has been a financial strain. Since Maliyah’s diagnosis, we have moved to a home with fewer steps, are in the process of making it more wheelchair accessible, and have had to buy a power wheelchair, manual wheelchair, bath seat, knee orthoses, orthodic shoes, and a wheelchair van. Project Mariposa grants will help so many families.

Grantee #24 :: Annah Mobus, Kentucky :: After showing symptoms pre-birth, Annah was diagnosed at 6-months-old with SMA Type 1. We were told she wouldn't see her 2nd birthday, but in January she celebrated her 16th! Annah is a "roll model" for the younger kids in the community and even offers advice to parents occasionally about what has worked and not worked for her. Annah is an extremely intelligent young lady. She is currently a sophomore in high school taking AP classes for college credit with plans to get a doctorate degree in psychiatry. Beginning this summer she will be taking dual credit courses on the campus of WKU. Annah has a laptop computer which she uses for schoolwork because she cannot manipulate books or write well because of hand weakness. Her laptop is old and very large and bulky. She can't open it or turn it on by herself. I would love to see Annah have an iPad for use at school. I believe that being able to carry it on her tray and using the touchscreen keyboard more easily would allow her to work far more independently and excel further in her studies. Thank you for considering my girl.

Grantee #25 :: Mary Kate Bigelow, Minnesota :: Our sweet Mary Kate was diagnosed at 6 months with SMA and our lives were forever changed. Initially we were told Type 2, but shortly after her 1st birthday she had a rapid loss of strength, function, and ability to swallow. As if the first diagnosis wasn't tough enough we were now told she was actually Type 1 and we would be lucky if she lived to her 2nd birthday. It was Dec. 12, 2002 and after a 73-day hospital stay doctors told us to take her home and enjoy our last Christmas with her. Our goal was to give her the best life we could with the time we had, to show her what it meant to be loved. She is now an amazing 10 years old! She has very minimal strength and longs to do things independently. A friend recently came over with her iPad; I didn't think the iPad would respond to Mary Kate's light touch but the look in her eyes told me differently! With the right positioning of her arm she was independent on a coloring program, turned pages in a book and recorded her own voice. Amazing! I asked Mary Kate what she would use an iPad for if she had one and her answer: "I would color you a picture Mommy, and read stories to Cooper (our dog) all by myself."

Grantee #26 :: Matthew Varney, Washington :: Matthew is 14-years-old with SMA Type 2. He’s a great boy with a positive attitude despite all he has to endure with his SMA. He was diagnosed at 1-year-old and never crawled or rolled over. He wears a back brace and leg braces and has been in a wheelchair since he was one. He has been homeschooled online full time since kindergarten. Matthew does have a computer, which he paid for almost all by himself. It is old, extremely slow, and cannot hold a charge. The iPad would be portable and he would love taking his computer with him. A touchscreen would be much easier for him compared to a keyboard for typing. Reading would be much more enjoyable too without the bulky book. One of Matt's passions is creating games and videos and he would love to do this on the iPad. Matthew would be soooo surprised and happy to receive this gift. He said this would be the best gift EVER.

Grantee #27 :: Katelyn Truax, Oregon :: Katelyn is 13-years-old and was diagnosed with SMA I/II on her 1st birthday. She has been through a lot, but is the happiest person I know! She makes the best out of what she has and I rarely hear her complain. Katelyn bought her own dog this year with money she earned from selling a market goat at our county fair. She wanted a new buddy after her service dog passed away. They are best friends! Katelyn loves playing on the computer, reading books, watching movies, and hanging out with her cousins. She is homeschooled along with her two older sisters. This Christmas Katelyn designed a couple of calendars and had them printed to sell to earn some money to buy herself an iPad. She sold a good amount, but nowhere near enough to buy an iPad. This would be such a blessing to her and would allow her to do so much.

Grantee #28 :: Courtney Rosas, Texas :: Courtney has SMA Type 1 and will be celebrating her 9th MIRACLE birthday in April. The iPad would be of great benefit for Courtney since it is small, portable and most of all it has a sensitive touchscreen. Courtney can still use one finger to use her micro switch to work her drum and two other toys so I know the iPad would be wonderful for her. I have seen other Type 1 children with them and have heard about some of the apps for them. Thank you very much."

Grantee #29 :: Chloe Ochoa, Illinois :: Chloe is 8-years-old and was diagnosed with SMA Type 3 right after her 2nd birthday. She gets so frustrated having SMA and how she cannot do everything that she wishes she could. She is so smart and eager to learn! Just this weekend she asked to borrow my phone so she could, "Use Google to look up facts about the earth...because I'm studying!" She could use an iPad to study during our homeschooling since it's so light and easy to carry around. Chloe also LOVES to draw and she would love how easy it would be to draw and color on an iPad since it's not so easy on paper with her trembling hands. I would love for her to experience once that having SMA can bring her something good like an iPad.... not just scary doctor visits, medical equipment, and tears!

Grantee #30 :: Ava Johnson, Alabama :: Ava was first diagnosed with SMA Type 1 at 6 months and is now 3 years old. It's been a live changing experience but she is a fighter and a very smart little girl. Ava loves to read and she loves music. I feel the iPad will help her in doing both of those things on her own and give her a sense of independence.

Grantee #31 :: Jensen Baldwin, Oklahoma :: Jensen is 16 and has SMA Type 3. She recently passed her GED and will soon begin taking college courses so the portability and light weight of an iPad would help her tremendously. Jensen stopped walking several years ago. She does walk around her room on her knees (albeit very slowly), but outside of her bedroom uses a powerchair. By the end of the day, Jensen's back is hurting so she has to lie down to relieve some of the strain. Having an iPad to use would be nice for her as she usually has to turn off her computer and lie down. I think the biggest impact, overall, that the iPad would give Jensen is that it would allow her to keep the things she loves close and make continuing her education much less physically demanding. The iPad could provide an all-in-one solution to the problems we are currently facing for Jensen. It would better her life in so many ways. In the future, we also hope it could benefit her in her workplace.

Want to apply for a Project Mariposa grant? Click HERE to learn more and submit your application. If you have already applied and are not selected today, don't worry. Your application will roll over and you will be considered for one of the future grants. You only need to apply once. 

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"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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