Emory's Next Big Step

Emory grinned as she raced around her brand new school, finding her classrooms and exploring the halls. This year, she’s taking a big step and starting sixth grade, which means moving into middle school.

In middle school, Emory will be in a totally new environment and will be moving in between classrooms for the first time. And she couldn’t be happier!

“We are thrilled to see her take this next step,” says Meg, Emory’s mom. “I really think she is going to succeed.”

She says this because – just a few years ago – they thought this might not be possible for Emory. Emory was born with a rare neurological disorder called alternating hemiplegia of childhood. This condition is so rare, in fact, that Emory is the only child in the St. Louis area with the same diagnosis.

“She is literally one in a million,” says Meg.

The condition affects Emory’s mobility and causes some developmental delays – she didn’t even walk until she was four and a half years old. But, with the help of Variety and some special equipment, she is moving more easily each day.

“Variety gives us the tools to support Emory’s effort to walk,” Meg adds.

These tools include an ankle foot orthotic (AFO) and supra malleolar orthotic (SMO) that support Emory’s feet and train them into the position she needs to walk. Because she is growing so fast, Emory needs new orthotics every six months or so – an expense that wouldn’t be possible without Variety.

“Variety covers whatever insurance does not,” says Meg. “And we never know what insurance is going to cover.”

This year, Meg also received a new walker from Variety, which will help support Emory in her efforts to walk independently.

But Emory’s favorite thing about Variety is Adventure Camp, which she attended yet again this past summer.

“Emory loves Camp!” Meg exclaims. “Camp is such a blessing. It gives her the opportunity to do new things, meet new friends and be with kids like her. It also gives us, as parents, a chance to get things done or spend time with Emory’s younger siblings – all while Emory is doing what she loves.”

And, to our Variety supporters, Meg would like to say: “You make our life possible. We could have thousands of dollars in debt because of this freak disorder, but, because of you, we have as normal of a family as possible. So, thank you!”