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."