Drake was born March 18, 2017 and spent his first 134 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. “Our doctor from the NICU recommended I get in touch with Rainbows the moment we left the hospital because Drake would need therapy from the get go,” said Ashton, Drake’s mom. “So August 1, 2017 I got in touch with them to come help my baby get the services he needed.”
Drake has Cerebral Palsy on the left side of his body due to Grade 4 brain damage on the right side of the brain. He also has hydrocephalus, a condition that occurs when fluid builds up in the skull and causes the brain to swell. Drake had to get four taps before he could get a shunt placed, as well as had to get it revised after going home from the hospital.
“Rainbows has been with us through this journey since the day I brought him home,” said Ashton. “Not having them available with all the help and love they have given, I would be lost. He has grown so much in the last three years doing things we never thought he would.”
Drake receives services through a Rainbows’ Infant/Toddler Services team that includes a Physical Therapist, an Occupational Therapist and a Speech Language Pathologist. “The progress we have made so far is amazing, especially considering the doctors didn’t think he would be able to do any of these things when we left the hospital,” said Ashton.
“Drake can hold his head up now, he rolls around, army crawls, gets around in different ways that get him from point A to point B,” said Ashton. “He has so many words and learns new words every day, and he has started putting a few together to make short sentences. Rainbows has even taught me how to help Drake eat. He eats different foods now. He still can’t really chew up the foods, but he is learning how to move his food around more in order to get it broken up enough to eat.”
“Drake is a charming sweetheart who captures the hearts of those around him,” said his Rainbows’ therapists, Gail Laochinda, Dawna Weed and Beth Watkins. “He loves games and hugs with his family and fan club. He is very adept at communicating what he wants and how he wants to play. It has been so fun to watch Drake grow and learn new things!”
“They have helped my son so much in just day to day life,” said Ashton. “They have provided so many other programs and help for him to be the best he can be. They helped me get equipment I couldn’t afford. They were always there to help me through. They have impacted our lives in so many ways words can’t even explain.”
Drake has a little brother, Oakley, who also receives services through Rainbows. Oakley has autism and is deaf in his right ear. “Rainbows is an amazing organization,” said Ashton. “They help so many families, and I don’t think that enough people know how much it really means to families like mine. The staff is welcoming, loving and patient, and they are very passionate about every single child and family they help. They are always there to even just talk. The whole team and organization is truly amazing.”
“Drake shows you what true happiness is,” said Ashton. “He is a very joyful boy, learning new ways to do things even though they might be hard to overcome. There is always a way! There is never a day that child does not show how much he loves his life.”