Canada – Josh Naylor with Chase Galea

Josh Naylor has partnered with Chase Galea for Home Runs that Help
Could you imagine not being able to walk, talk, eat on your own; not be able to understand things that are going on around you, having to struggle every day to work on the things that you couldn’t do? On top of all these challenges, could you imagine having almost no support available to you? I can’t tell you what it is like to face many of these challenges but I can tell you how hard it is to watch someone you deeply care for and love having to struggle each and every day just to try to do the normal things in life that we all take for granted.

My brother, Chase Galea, who will turn five on March 24th was born almost four months premature. Chase spent the first one-hundred-and-one days in the London hospital Neonatal ward under intensive care. Throughout those one hundred-and-one days my mom and dad, Shawn and Rachel Galea, weren’t able to hold their newborn baby in their arms. My sister Brittney and I were not able to hold our new little brother. My Mom was not able to feed him naturally, to comfort him when he cried, to bring him home to his own nursery and to just feel like a normal Mom.

When chase was 18 months old he was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy along with moderate to severe hearing loss – Auditory Neuropathy. As Chase grew he was challenged with seizures which used to occurred monthly, each time setting his development and progress back. Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a disorder that affects muscle tone, movement and motor skills (the ability to move in a coordinated and purposeful way.) Cerebral Palsy can also lead to other health issues; including vision, hearing, speech problems and learning disabilities. CP is usually caused by brain damage that occurs before or during a child’s birth or during the first 3 to 5 years of a child’s life. There is no cure for CP. A person with CP has to cope with disabilities and handicaps for their entire life.

A disability is a physical loss of function such as being unable to walk, having difficulty with hand control or speech. A handicap is the degree to which that disability puts out at a disadvantage in daily life. For instance, someone who is very shortsighted may be considered to have a disability but they are unlikely to consider this a handicap if they corrective lenses. A disability may prevent someone with CP from climbing stairs but this would only be considered a handicap if the building they want to enter is not wheelchair accessible.

Since the diagnoses Chase has attended an ability camp for months at time away from home, along with five hours of conductive educational therapy a day. My family had to fly a therapist from Hungary since conductive education is not taught in Canada. A car, insurance and a place to live was also provided. The benefit of this is so that my mother Rachel or father Shawn didn’t have to travel five hours away for months at a time for Chase to get his therapy. The government provides very limited assistance or funding to help children like Chase therefore it can become draining financially to provide Chase with the best resources. Chase recently had a specialized laser surgery to lengthen and stretch his muscles. This surgery is not offered here in Canada so my family set off to New Jersey for the procedure. The cost for just the surgery alone was $20,000.00 U.S. This surgery is not a onetime deal; it will need to be repeated multiple times throughout his life. Since this specialized surgery Chase is able to maneuver better with his walker, can lift his legs, can put his feet flat on the ground, has better balance and is now able to walk using special canes. Much like the Conductive Education therapy, we learned about this surgery through my family’s OWN research.

Chase’s therapy in previous years, provided by our government, was cut back from once a week for one hour to once every other week for one hour. This was simply was not enough to help Chase to progress to the best of his ability. Chases OT (Occupational Therapist) was once every other week for forty-five minutes but was then reduced to once a month. Conductive Education through The March Of Dimes was two hours twice a week at a cost of $46.20 per hour. The CP ability camp cost is $ 4,565.00 for five hours, five days a week for five weeks. There are many more costs associated with Chase’s condition, such as: Chase’s stander, AFO`s hearing aids, his bath chair, new molds for his hearing aids, Botox, Pedro shoes, his walker, as well as gym equipment; such as wooden climbers, parallel bars, grid walkers; etc. This is just the beginning of Chases expenses. His Conductive Education Therapy, which is over $6000 per month, is critical for Chase to progress physically. To date, the total cost of equipment, therapy and surgery for my brother is in excess of $80,000.00 – The Canadian Government covers none of these costs!

The fact of the matter is that not only my family but many others in the surrounding areas of Caledon and beyond are disappointed and extremely frustrated by the lack of support and facilities available. The fact that children are already delayed and can’t live the normal life of a five, six, seven; etc year old. They can’t even have the opportunity to go to a specialized school and have the care that is needed to help them grow, learn, and succeed.

It breaks my heart to watch my little brother not be able to live the life of a normal five year old; he can’t play in the park with the other kids, he can’t communicate like a normal child; tell us what he wants for Christmas or for his Birthday. It is even more sad that never mind he can’t play in the park with other kids but he can’t even attend a school where he can interact with children. I believe that in today’s society, being 2012, we should have a school system to accommodate all children. It doesn’t matter what the disability or handicap be; everyone should have a fair chance at living their life to their potential. My little brother Chase has been given anything but that opportunity. What about when Chase is seventeen, eighteen, when he can’t play on sports teams in his high school, get a job; won’t be able to drive, all because he isn’t getting the services now that will help him succeed and be able to live a normal life? …Is that fair?

While it is unfortunate that assistance is not offered to my Brother, my family is blessed to have the love, help and support of our family and friends. We are so grateful to everyone who has generously reached out to donate their time and their hearts to help him have the best quality of life possible.

Read more about Home Runs that Help