When Jeffrey talks about his daughter, he is proud of her accomplishments and the progress she has made. A 16-year-old girl with the determination to walk and talk, Le’Toyia has struggled with cerebral palsy and epilepsy her entire life. Born with significant medical needs, she was hospitalized 108 times before the age of 5.
Family connects to Rainbows
“Our doctor recommended Rainbows when Le’Toyia was just a few months old,” said Jeffrey. “It was hard for me to trust anyone else with my beautiful baby, but eventually, I put her on the Rainbows’ bus so she could get the therapy she needed.” This connection set in place a foundation that has kept both Jeffrey and Le’Toyia strong through the years.
Rainbows taught me I needed to treat her like other girls her age. This means the clothes that she wears, her closet full of shoes – many with sparkles and bright colors, and the activities she does with friends.
Le’Toyia attended Rainbows’ Ritchie Family Center for much of her first 5 years, at her preschool graduation, Jeffrey cried. “It was a proud moment to see her go across that stage,” said Jeffrey. “I was anxious about our next steps and Le’Toyia going to school. How would they take care of her and help her grow like the caring people at Rainbows did?”
Rainbows’ Targeted Case Management services began when Le’Toyia was 5-years-old. A Case Manager walked alongside the family as Le’Toyia transitioned into services through the school district. The same structure Rainbows helped create is what made the transition to kindergarten successful. “The firm foundation Rainbows’ constructed when she was younger prepared us both for Le’Toyia to enter elementary, middle and now high school,” said Jeffrey. “It’s that example that gives me confidence for the days ahead.”
Targeted Case Management meet needs
Over the years, a Rainbows’ Case Manager helped the family adapt their home with a wheelchair ramp to their home and a lift system that allows Le’Toyia to be transported from one room to another. She needed car seats as she grew, feeding pumps and medical supplies since she eats through a g-tube 6 times a day, every 4 hours. She gets her medications through the tube as well.
As a Rainbows’ Case Manager, Karina walks alongside the family making sure they have what they need to be successful. “Jeffrey is a great dad, he is at every appointment and makes sure that her care is carried out consistently,” said Karina. Karina has been familiar with the family since Le’Toyia was a toddler at Rainbows and Karina was a para educator in her classroom. Years later, Karina serves the family as their Case Manager. “I appreciate Karina and her responsiveness to help with Le’Toyia’s needs,” said Jeffrey. “She is resourceful and has connected us to funding for the car seat, diapers and wipes as well as a bath chair.”
Rainbows also connected Le’Toyia to therapy and nursing services that have been life changing. Le’Toyia goes to therapy at a local hospital every Monday. A therapist helps her body stretch and build muscle tone and strength, then practices walking with a prone stander, all with a goal of her walking on her own. Le’Toyia can currently walk the length of a football field when she’s working hard. She wears foot orthotics with special socks and shoes during therapy, supplies Karina helped the family secure.
A father’s love
Jeffrey works out so he is strong enough to lift his daughter from her wheelchair to the bed and into the car. He is a small business owner so he can have a flexible schedule and be available to pick Le’Toyia up from school when she has a seizure or is sick.
“Rainbows means everything to me and my daughter,” said Jeffrey. “I am the dad I need to be because Rainbows taught me to be her voice and advocate for her needs. She is my princess. It’s that confidence that allows me to know one day she will walk into Rainbows and say hello.”
Enjoy their video story below.