Serving those who serve and protect our Rett family

How we offered a heartfelt 'thank you' to our local first responders

Jackie Babiarz avatar

by Jackie Babiarz |

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A steady flow of firefighters, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), and police officers came through our home a couple of weeks ago — but not for the same reason as they have in the past. We had to continually reassure our medically fragile daughter, Cammy, 14, that the firefighters and EMTs weren’t there to take her to the hospital. Instead, we’d invited them for dinner.

Because of her Rett syndrome, Cammy can go from zero to 60 in a flash. Her immune system is compromised, and she’s unable to walk, talk, or use her hands to indicate where something hurts.

Over the years, our local first responders have learned about Cammy so they can best serve her needs. They efficiently and effectively come into our home whenever she needs to be transported to the hospital. They’re overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated. Providing a meal was a small token of our gratitude.

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In preparation for the dinner, I contacted our town’s fire department lieutenant, who’s become a dear friend through all the rescues we’ve required over the years. He helped spread the word, and I also dropped flyers off at the firehouses and police department headquarters. Each station seemed really taken aback, but grateful for the invitation.

On the night of the event, my family, along with a few neighbors, smoked a ton of delicious meats, including pork belly, burnt ends, salmon, chicken, and pork shoulder. I had no idea how many first responders would actually stop by, since they could get a call at any time, but my heart was exploding as more and more entered our home.

In total, more than 30 responders visited us, all very appreciative for a home-cooked dinner. The ones who knew Cammy chatted with her and reassured her they were just there to visit. They stayed and talked with all of us until they got work calls. Upon leaving, they each circled my kitchen island to thank us for the meal. They’ve always been class acts.

We’re eternally grateful for these humans who have carried us through some difficult times. Sadly, we know we’ll need them again for Cammy. But now, even more first responders will know us and the layout of our home for emergencies.

It was an exceptional evening with fantastic neighbors and the spectacular people who serve and protect us. Serving them for one evening was the least we could do. My heart was full. We definitely had the safest house in town that night.

Note: Rett Syndrome News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Rett Syndrome News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Rett syndrome.


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