BUFFALO, NY - Watching Stephanie Patterson's morning routine is enough to exhaust you. The Grand Island mom has three girls; 8-year old Riley and 6-year old twins, Cecelia and Georgia. The twins have special needs. They can't walk or talk. They are still in diapers.
Stephanie, with some help from big sis, Riley, gets the girls up, gets their diapers changed, their clothes on, their teeth brushed, gives them their medicine, puts their coats on, straps them in their wheelchairs and wheels them down the stairs, outside, and on to their bus for school. She does it all with such grace, love and gentle care.
Stephanie and her husband, Sean, never thought this would be their life. Stephanie had a perfectly normal twin pregnancy and delivered at 38-weeks. Things seemed fine, but soon they realized something was wrong. The girls would not eat and ended up being taken to Women and Children's Hospital. A few months later they were taken home without a real diagnosis.
After months of therapy and doctor appointments, the Pattersons took the girls for genetic testing. There was an abnormality with chromosome seven. The girls, it turns out, have a host of problems related to that. This is all so rare that there isn't even a name or syndrome.
The girls have been in and out of the hospital over the years. just getting colds can put the twins on life support. Cecelia has also faced cancer. She had a tumor removed from her eye and went through months of chemotherapy and radiation. She will also need surgery on her spine soon.
Over time, the Pattersons have realized that their dream home is becoming more and more difficult to live in. It is a two-story home which leaves Stephanie and Sean carrying the girls up and down the stairs. There is not enough room for the wheelchairs in many of the rooms. It's tough.
People in the Grand Island and South Buffalo communities are holding a fundraiser for the family. They're hoping to raise enough money to build the family a new home that is one floor and handicap accessible.
There will be a fundraiser held on Saturday, September 28th from 2 to 7 p-m at the Harvey V-F-W Post in West Seneca. You can find more information at www.forourgirlsfoundation.com.