Donor-powered Children’s Therapy Unit gives Carlos independence
Across the street from MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital exists a magical place where childlike wonder, play and hard work unite.Apr 5th, 2022
By Kortney Scroger
Across the street from MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital exists a magical place where childlike wonder, play and hard work unite.
The Mary Bridge Good Samaritan Children’s Therapy Unit (CTU) may look like a giant playground, but for the 3,796 kids who visited in 2021, it’s a place where every appointment is filled with mental and physical challenges, disguised as play.
At least once a week, you’ll find 3-year-old Carlos donning a bowtie, the cutest dimples and a determined attitude. CTU has been part of his life since he was a few months old because of various diagnoses including ZTTK syndrome — a multisystem developmental disorder. To address his needs, Carlos attends physical, feeding, occupational and adaptive speech therapy. He also uses orthotics, which are made on-site at CTU.
“When we walk into the CTU, it really feels like an extension of our family,” Carlos’ mom, Bree, says. “My favorite moments are the ones when providers who aren’t part of Carlos' care cheer him on and celebrate his milestones with us.”
Empowering kids with special needs
Carlos’ diagnoses are rare, and the extent of his disorders is unknown. But thanks to CTU, adaptations can be made so he can achieve milestones at his own pace or what his family lovingly calls “Carlos Time.”
Examples of the adaptive technology CTU offers include a portable highchair to help Carlos sit on his own, so he can join his family for meals.
“When Carlos was an infant, between his head size and his hypertonia (abnormally high muscle tone or stiffness), it was a struggle to find devices for him to safely sit upright,” Bree explains. “His physical therapist, Meredith, gave me instructions to find a portable highchair. I brought it to our next visit, and she adjusted the chair with foam and Velcro, so Carlos was seated safely upright. This chair was a huge lifesaver. It also fit perfectly in the wagons at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital when he was admitted. I would sit him in the wagon, and we would do laps around the unit.”
Carlos also received assistance with his mobility from a Kids Walk adaptive walker and orthotics from CTU’s in-house orthotics team. Both tools help Carlos move independently, allowing him to interact with the world around him. Recently, Carlos received a wheelchair.
“With the chair, Carlos can be more independent,” Bree says, “He’ll be taking his sweet new set of wheels to school where he can be active with his peers.”
Going above and beyond, thanks to philanthropy
Thanks to community generosity, CTU has supported kids like Carlos for more than 20 years, helping them reach their full potential.
Last year alone, donations helped provide 587 pairs of shoes to children (including Carlos) with orthotic needs. More than $196,000 in donor funds were allocated for assistive technology staff and supplies — like the Velcro and foam used in Carlos’ highchair — and a high-tech scanner, allowing the team to offer cranial remolding helmet services.
“CTU couldn’t make the impact they’ve had on Carlos if it wasn't for their donors,” Bree says. “As a family that’s witnessed firsthand the impact those essential donations have made on our boy Carlos — we’re so beyond grateful for their generosity.”
Because of donors, his team at CTU and his family, Carlos is exceeding all expectations and is a happy toddler.
“Carlos has been through so much in his short little life,” Bree says. “After each critical event he’s endured, his resiliency shines through and he bounces back 110 percent better than he was prior to his hospitalization. He is a warrior, and he inspires me every day.”
Join us for Good Samaritan Foundation’s Corks & Crush gala on May 21 where part of the proceeds will benefit CTU and kids like Carlos. Learn more at corksandcrush.org.
Read more about Carlos’ incredible journey.