Recognizing a Family Who Has Supported Us on Our Rett Journey
Our family hosts an annual fundraiser on behalf of our 13-year-old daughter, Cammy, who has Rett syndrome. This year’s event was held this past Saturday, and all proceeds are going to the International Rett Syndrome Foundation to help fund research into potential treatments or even a cure. The fundraiser gives us back some of the control we’ve lost due to Rett.
During the event, we give out two awards: the Angel of Hope, which we first gave out in 2016, and the Ripple of Hope, which we added in 2018.
The Angel of Hope is given to an adult who keeps Cammy in their heart and mind constantly and goes above and beyond to unselfishly and humbly carry us through our journey. This year’s recipient is Cammy’s emergency room nurse Craig, whom I will share more about in a future column.
The Ripple of Hope is typically given to a young person who brings my family hope and joy just by being themselves. They give us hope for a future of inclusion, acceptance, and embracing one another’s differences.
This year, we are giving the award to a family because they all have filled our hearts with love. The Martinez family came into our lives when their dad, Lionel, began building our accessible house in 2019. Even if he wasn’t our builder, we know this family still would’ve found their way into our lives and hearts somehow.
Lionel built our house with love, crafting every part with Cammy in mind. He’d call during the planning process with ideas about how to make things more accessible. His wife, Stacey, has been a constant cheerleader for Cammy and our family. She is selfless and dedicated to helping others. They both deserve part of the Ripple of Hope award because they’re wonderful people who have also raised four incredibly kind daughters.
First, there’s Lydia, who’s in elementary school and is always genuinely excited to see Cammy. Lydia doesn’t view her as a person with a disability; she just views her as Cammy.
Then there’s Peyton, a middle schooler, whose smile lights up Cammy’s face. Peyton knows exactly how to communicate with Cammy, who’s nonverbal, and cheer her up.
Natalie, a high schooler, wears her love for Cammy on her sleeve. She always finds a way to represent Cammy. Most recently, Natalie placed a “Cammy Can” sticker on her softball helmet.
Rachel was Cammy’s partner in art class, Cammy’s first extracurricular activity. Rachel, also in high school, quickly learned how to work with Cammy and help her participate, and their artwork was beautiful. Rachel would probably be most embarrassed by the attention of this award because the motive behind her actions is that they’re the right thing to do; she doesn’t do things for awards or attention.
Just by being themselves, the Martinez family creates a ripple effect, inspiring others to rise up and be inclusive and kind. We are extremely grateful for them.
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