A Sponsor Aims to Fulfill Children’s Special Needs

Child Fund

Tracy, a Wisconsin Native with Cerebral Palsy, believes that disability does not equate to inability and she dedicates her life to helping others realize their potential with the help of Child fund. 

Nancy is able to watch her favorite cartoon, Tom and Jerry, because she recently learned to hold her head up. Cousins Thaddeus and Cyprian, who live next door to one another, are able to have more fun together since they both learned to walk using crutches. Elizabeth is able to play outside with her friends now that she has a wheelchair. Tracy stays busy working as a computer programmer and fosters kittens for her local animal shelter.

Hawa, 14, lives in Sierra Leone. When she learned that Tracy also had a disability, she took her picture to school and told everyone that if her sponsor could go into the community and work, she could, too.

All five of these people are connected by sponsorship, and they live with some form of physical or mental disability.

Tracy, as a sponsor, is the linchpin. Growing up in the United States in the ’70s, she saw ChildFund (then Christian Children’s Fund) commercials on TV, and she decided that when she grew up, she would be a sponsor.

Born with cerebral palsy (CP), Tracy went to therapy as a young child, attended school, and now lives and works in Wisconsin. In 2009, Tracy read a story on ChildFund’s website about a woman who was blind and sponsored children with disabilities. Tracy wanted to do the same — so she began sponsoring her first child with special needs, Caroline, who lives in Kenya and also has CP.

Millicent, 8, uses parallel bars her father made in their backyard to practice standing.

Since then, many more children have become part of her sponsored family. At the end of the first letter she writes to each child, Tracy tells them she has cerebral palsy. “[They] hear all the other stuff about my life and then they read that at the end, and I think it gives them hope,” she says. “I can relate to them.”When she first wrote to John, another of her sponsored children, Tracy received a reply from his mother that has become part of her own vernacular: “I guess this means that disability does not mean inability.”Now, Tracy says, she always makes a point to ask, what can these children do? Belinda can hold a cup and drink from it. Stacy can write the words “cat” and “dog.” Millicent can stand with both feet flat on the ground. With Tracy’s support, ChildFund works with children and families to get access to specialized schools, therapy, braces or wheelchairs — resources they need to reach their potential.

“This has become my mission,” Tracy says, “to help these children with special needs, and I’m using ChildFund as a vehicle to be able to do it.”

Tracy says she hopes this story will inspire someone else to help other sponsored children, just as a similar story did for her years ago.

“Look what’s happening with these kids,” Tracy says. “You could be a part of that.”

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