Four-year-old Chance has defied all the odds, and that has been no small feat. Born at 28 weeks, doctors told his mom, Lainie, that he had a 50/50 chance to make it through the night. “They told me not to expect anything and that even if he survived he would have a very poor quality of life,” said Lainie. “He was supposed to be blind, deaf, mentally retarded, never walk, never talk, not have use of his arms. It was half of a page of things he wasn’t supposed to do.”
But Chance, who was in the neonatal intensive care unit for the first three months of his life, never gave up. According to Lainie, he’s proven the professionals wrong at every turn. In fact, 99.9% of the doctors’ original prognosis never came to fruition. Although Chance had been diagnosed with brain damage associated with lack of oxygen at birth, his neurologist later said that diagnosis no longer fit because he’s done so well. Additionally he was once diagnosed with cerebral palsy but again, that has been ruled out. “The only thing that fits is significantly developmentally delayed (as a diagnosis),” said Lainie.
Today Chance is a compassionate, caring little boy with a tremendous sense of humor. Although his fine and gross motor skills are significantly delayed (he just started walking when he was three), his spirit refuses to be broken. “He’s got the will and the drive and the passion,” said Lainie. “If he didn’t want to be here, he had lots of opportunities when he was first born to give up and I credit him for pushing through that.”
Working with physical therapist Cheryl Jabara and occupational therapists Teresa Young and Mimi French, Chance comes to Heartspring twice a week to work on various skills including dressing himself, running and jumping.
“What I most admire about Chance is his willingness to try everything,” said Mimi. “If it is a challenging activity, Chance still makes an attempt and you can bet, it will be with a small grin.”
In physical therapy with Cheryl, Chance enjoys riding the tricycle but is getting old enough that she is now trying to get him to ride a bicycle with training wheels so he can ride his own bike at home. “Chance has come such a long way in this short of time period, he has exceed many of my expectations,” she said.
Chance is no stranger to therapy. For two years he has had as many as 10-12 therapies each week. “He’s had a lot of interventions and a lot of help,” said Lainie. “He knows that almost every day is a therapy day and he rolls with it. This is his life.”
For Lainie, having caring therapists like the ones at Heartspring makes a difference. “He really sees these people as his friends. He knows it’s work, but he also knows that they support him and they’re proud of him,” she said. “They’re cheering him on. As a mom, that’s what I appreciate. They celebrate his little successes. You see the tears in their eyes when he accomplishes something. Whether it’s small thing or a big thing, they’re cheering and clapping and giving high fives. They are right here in his corner. Anything he does they are totally on his team. They want to see him do well and succeed.”
Unless you know where Chance came from, it’s hard to fully comprehend what he has overcome. “He’s my little miracle baby and I’m insanely proud of him,” said Lainie.