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Helping a Family in Need

Jeff and Lauren Schooler are the proud parents of four children. Their youngest child, Hannah, was

born with Down syndrome and a rare condition affecting her esophagus. During the holidays in 2017, the family spent two months in Boston so doctors could fix Hannah's esophagus. "They did amazing. It's very, very hard to fix," said Lauren. "We got her home in January of 2018 and she had a great couple of months. Typical little kid with Down syndrome. Rolling all over the place and being sassy."

In May 2018, Hannah's small intestine ruptured and she suffered a brain injury. "What unfolded was beyond our worst nightmare," said Lauren. Hannah spent two months in the hospital fighting for her life. She was able to return home, but a year later, things took another turn for the worst. A bad cold and a flu virus left Hannah on a respirator. "We had been in the hospital three months. And we finally just decided that we needed to take her home," said Lauren.

Lauren and Jeff connected with Noah's Children, a hospice organization, to learn ways to make Hannah comfortable at home. "She’s the happiest kid that you could imagine given all of the circumstances. And if she’s okay, we’re all okay. That’s really it," said Lauren. "When she was miserable, we were struggling.” The family works together to take care of Hannah on their own. They didn't want to take the chance that nursing aides and caregivers may bring the coronavirus or other viruses into the home. "There was no way we could take the chance," said Lauren. "We just do our best every day.”

Lauren knew they were going to need a wheelchair ramp soon to help ease some of the heavy lifting the family endured on a daily basis. "In our very intense daily life with Hannah, where most tasks end up being more challenging than they should be, getting her in and out of the house safely has become one of our biggest concerns," said Lauren. "We didn’t know quite where or how we were going to do the ramp. And then, of course, with everything parents with medically fragile kids have to tend to, it’s just not in the budget."

Noah's Children encouraged Lauren to reach out to project:HOMES for a wheelchair ramp. Last month, our Renew Crew volunteers built a ramp for four-year-old Hannah and her family. "It’s pretty spectacular," said Lauren. "We’re very grateful. It's monumental to have just one challenge alleviated around here. It’s glorious."

"Miracles like this happen with her that are incredible. She had not smiled since her bowel perforation. Not once. We got her home last year and she’s just been smiling and happy," said Lauren. "She goes to her physical therapy and she’s working on getting her legs stronger to stand. There are all of these things against the odds that she’s done and she survives all of it."

"This act of generosity has filled our hearts and given us bread for the journey ahead. And, that has made all the difference," said Lauren. "Having a ramp takes away one of our biggest daily challenges. It’s uplifting. It reminds us that we are not alone and that our community is there to help us when we are in the midst of hard things."

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