Thursday, July 3, 2014
A Georgia family will soon be in Fulton as a stop for its national tour to educate the public about cerebral palsy.
Jack Foley and his daughters Joanna and Becca started their journey called “Treasured Tyrtle Project” on June 28 and will be at First Presbyterian Church from 6-7 p.m. July 11, sharing stories about overcoming obstacles associated with cerebral palsy while informing others on how they can help those affected.
Becca Foley, 12, who is referred to as a “treasured turtle,” was diagnosed with cerebral palsy early on in life and eventually more diagnoses (epilepsy, autism and mental retardation) came over the years. She is dependant on others and cannot walk or talk. Becca is fed through a feeding tube, her father said.
Jack Foley describes his daughter as a “gift from God” who is playful, observant and strong. He said he loves to hear her laugh.
“I’m grateful when she chuckles,” Jack Foley, who was a former intern at First Presbyterian Church in Fulton from 1989-1990, said.
The Foleys hope to help more families with a member who has developmental challenges through their “Ask Me About CP” 2014 Trip Across America. In addition to educating the public, the Foleys want to fundraise as a way to “pay it forward.”
“We have been the recipients of a lot of help,” Jack Foley said.
Families with a special needs member, Jack Foley said, tend to be “financially strapped,” as they try to cover what insurance won’t — expensive equipment.
Donations from their local church and community aided the Foleys in purchasing a handicap van. But the equipment needs don’t stop there. According to Foley, a specialty stroller can cost up to $2,000; bath seats are around $700 and what may just be a bench to some can cost up to $200 for someone with special needs.
In addition to equipment, the Foleys hope to fundraise enough money to send special needs children to a camp designed with their needs in mind. Attending the camp is a refreshing experience for the Foleys, who Jack Foley said don’t give out explanations in a public setting and can share similar life experiences with other camp families.
“You just get there and you get to be yourself,” Jack Foley said.
Seeing the joy in Becca as she sped down a zip line at camp gave Jack Foley a lasting memory and indescribable feeling.
“She just cackled and laughed and it was beyond words,” he said. “You can’t put words to that.”
Helen Logan, Fulton State Hospital department of spirituality and compassionate care director, said she’s looking forward to seeing the Foleys at her church. In preparing for the event, Logan said she’s already been enlightened on cerebral palsy and is excited to learn more from the Foleys as they “pay it forward.”
“I think it’s going to be really cathartic as one who was fortunate to receive help along the way,” Logan said.
For more information on the Treasured Tyrtle Project, go to treasuredtyrtle.com.
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