Looking at Variety Kid Blake now, you wouldn’t know that he had a rough beginning to his life. Blake is all smiles, quick to make a friend or break out his dance moves.
His mom, Heather, shares that this is thanks, in part, to Blake’s “incredible experience” with Variety St. Louis.
“I truly know that, without the help from Variety, Blake would not be where he is today,” Heather says.
Blake was born with one kidney and went into kidney failure at birth. He was on dialysis up to 24 hours a day to survive, and spent 135 days of his first year of life in the hospital.
At just 14 months old, Blake received a new kidney, saving his life. But this was just the start of a long road ahead.
In addition to End Stage Renal Disease, Blake has two rare genetic syndromes that contribute to developmental delays. Because of this combination, Blake has needed therapy from the moment he was born.
Blake started off with at-home physical therapy, provided with help from Variety’s TherHappy Kids program. This therapy improved Blake’s physical challenges so much that he recently switched to occupational therapy. Through occupational therapy, Blake is now working to better develop his fine motor skills so that he is better prepared for kindergarten.
In addition to therapy, Blake has also participated in Variety’s Adventure Camp program. At Camp, Blake has made new friends as well as incredible memories, all while participating in fun new activities.
Combined, Blake’s therapy and Adventure Camp experiences have empowered him to not just survive, but thrive. These opportunities have taught him new skills and introduced lifelong friendships, and have greatly increased his confidence as well.
Heather says, “This organization has done so much to help our son and our family is forever grateful.”