When Kane Powell is at The Lily Pad, located in the Easterseals West Kentucky Child Development Center, he is thinking of only one thing—fun.
The four-year-old knows that when he and his friends get the chance to go into the facility’s “motor room,” he will be ready to crawl up and down the stair toy and across the bridge. He anxiously awaits art time, where he will paint or create a treasure or trinket for his mom. And, thanks to a brand-new soft, padded flooring in the outdoor play area, he can also plan to play out in the sunshine as well.
For the youngster, who has cerebral palsy and epilepsy, his days at Easterseals West Kentucky are spent enjoying his friends and his surroundings.
For his mom Samantha, Kane’s days at The Lily Pad bring something quite different –a sense of relief.
Before The Lily Pad, Kane went to an in-home daycare while Samantha worked, but at the time, he was having 20 or more atonic drop seizures every day.
“They were great there, but they weren’t medically trained to deal with his seizures, so I couldn’t feel comfortable leaving him eight or nine hours a day,” Samantha recalls.
Transitioning Kane to The Lily Pad, where he now receives care from on-staff nurses and child development specialists who work as a team with Kane’s own physicians, was, according to Samantha, a blessing to her whole family.
“Obviously my son is my number one priority,” she says.
“But I also have to work and I do love my job, I’m passionate about it, so it has been so nice to know that he’s being taken care of at The Lily Pad.”
In addition to the care that Kane receives during the day, The Lily Pad works hand-in-hand with his many services so that he can receive physical, occupational and speech therapy in-house.
“I’ve had to take off several weeks at a time for Kane’s health as far as him being hospitalized at Vanderbilt and all our appointments there too,” Samantha says.
“I have had to take leave a lot.”
“Since we found The Lily Pad and they have nurses on staff and all his therapies go there through Sensory Solutions, I don’t have to take off as much work.”
She chokes back tears when she talks about how much the Easter Seals staff members have come to mean to her and her son over the past two years.
“They really are just a blessing for us,” she says.
“It’s not just because of what they provide to Kane, but it’s really the people there.”
“They have really great people there that take great care of him.”
“It’s just a special place.”
Dedicated to providing a variety of resources to children and adults with disabilities as well as their families and caregivers, Easterseals West Kentucky operates both the Child Development Center and The Lily Pad, and also a local facility for adults, that similarly operates as both an adult day training facility and adult day healthcare facility.
It is that facility where 31-year-old Anthony Jeffrey spends his days while his mother is at work.
“I’m a single mom and I don’t know what I’d do without Easter Seals, to be honest,” says Anthony’s mom Lisa Winchester.
Anthony, who has autism, started going to the Adult Day Center part-time before he graduated high school and now spends his days there, taking public transportation to and from Murray most days. While there, he and his friends take art class and even go on field trips to Kentucky Oaks Mall to walk or to get haircuts.
“Anthony’s been on more trips with them than I ever dreamed of him being able to go on.”
In addition to recreational activities, staff members at the center help Anthony with basic needs as well.
“He takes his showers and shaves at the center,” says Lisa.
“That really helps me out a lot.”
After a decade, it’s hard for Lisa to put into words how much of an impact that the Easter Seals Center has on the lives of her and her son.
“It means everything to us,” she says.
“He loves it.”
“It’s just part of our lives now, and I don’t know what I’d do without it.”
In fact, there are more than 700 people in the Western Kentucky region who benefit in some way from services provided by Easterseals West Kentucky—the majority of them probably would have the same kinds of stories as Samantha and Lisa.
But, according to Breanna Clayton, Director of Development & Marketing, no stories would exist at all were it not for the huge amount of support that the organization receives from the community–in particular two channels.
“Without the Paducah Lions Club and the Charity League of Paducah, I don’t think Easterseals West Kentucky would be here,” she says.
Most notably, the Paducah Lions Club, along with WPSD Local 6, hosts the annual Telethon of Stars event that benefits Easterseals West Kentucky both in fundraising and awareness.
“The Paducah Lions Club is just the vehicle driving the efforts,” says Lori Devine, Immediate Past President of the club.
“We are in our 62nd year with the production and it just would not be possible without the generosity of our community! Whether it is the volunteers from WPSD Local 6, the contributions from individuals, organizations, and churches, or the support of our local corporations, the Telethon would not be the success it is.”
“We have been helping Easterseals West Kentucky and the other centers who benefit from the donation change lives through their programming and services, and will continue our efforts for as long as the community supports us!”
And, since 1952, the Charity League of Paducah has existed to help support the mission of Easterseals West Kentucky.
“Charity League of Paducah has had a close relationship with Easterseals West Kentucky for a long time,” says President Leigh Ann Ballegeer.
“By being a member of the Charity League, you form a lot of friendships with likeminded women, but at the end of the day, our goal is to raise money for Easterseals West Kentucky.”
In addition to regularly volunteering at the Easterseals facilities, the 50-member Charity League hosts two major fundraising events each year. Countless Paducahans have partaken in one of the events by ringing in the New Year at the annual Snowball. In its 91st year, Leigh Ann calls the gala a “Paducah tradition.” Combined with a rotating spring event, which cycles between golf scrambles, Bargain Fairs, and other specialty events, the group annually gives around $50,000 to fund Easter Seals West Kentucky’s efforts.
“Easterseals West Kentucky is an extremely worthy cause,” says Leigh Ann.
“There’s a reason that Charity League chose Easterseals West Kentucky as the beneficiary of their fundraising efforts. It’s a local organization and you can really see your donation dollars at work there.”
“Plus, seeing how much joy it brings the individuals there makes it all worth it.”
You can learn more about the services provided by Easterseals West Kentucky by visiting www.easterseals.com/westkentucky. Donations can be made via the website or by mailing a check to:
Easterseals West Kentucky
801 N 29th St.
Paducah, KY 42001
Learn more about Charity League of Paducah events by visiting: www.paducahcharityleague.com
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