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March 28, 2013

OUR VIEW: A miracle for a miracle child

Turning 15 years old is about the time teenagers really start dreaming about getting a car.

A car means freedom. It means independence. And, let’s face it, it means getting out of the house by yourself and finally doing your own thing.

But Alexandra Darland doesn’t live the life of a typical teenager. In fact, Alexandra is lucky to be a teenager. She’s a living miracle.

When she was born premature at 26 weeks and weighing just 3 pounds, doctors said she didn’t have a fighting chance. Not only was she born so small, as her life continued, the odds continued stacking against her. She was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, scoliosis and hydrocephalus, a condition in which an abnormal amount of fluid accumulates in brain cavities. She is also mostly blind and suffers from seizures and contractures, the permanent shortening of muscles and joints.

As you can imagine, life has not been easy for Alexandra and her family. She requires total care. Her parents lift her in and out of her wheelchair, bathe her and feed her using a gastric feeding tube.

At under 4 feet tall, she has a special car seat. She has outgrown it. Not bad for a girl told she wouldn’t make it. While her continued growth is great news, it causes a major problem for the family.

What they need is a wheelchair-accessible van. If you think that doesn’t sound cheap, you’d be right. It’s not. It could cost up to $40,000. Like most families, they don’t have that kind of money.

It might be expensive, but it’s not a luxury. It’s a necessity. Most children in Alexandra’s situation eventually have to leave home to live in a professional care center. That’s something the family is trying to avoid for as long as possible.

And to make that happen, the family has entered a nationwide contest hosted by the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association to win a custom wheelchair-accessible vehicle. We, as individuals and as a community, can help them win the contest and secure Alexandra’s place at home. You can vote online once a day until May 10. Visit mobilityawarenessmonth.com, clicking “Enter or Vote Now” and searching for Alexandra Darland in Logansport.

In today’s society, families so easily break apart. But now we find ourselves with the rare chance to keep a family together. Let’s take it.

Take the time as often as possible to vote for Alexandra. If we all pull together, we can be part of another miracle in her life.

How to vote:

Vote to help Alexandra Darland win a

wheelchair-accessible vehicle by visiting

www.mobilityawarenessmonth.com, clicking

“Enter or Vote Now” and searching for

Alexandra Darland in Logansport.

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