Andrew L. "Andy" O'Neil's Story
Andy was an amazing survivor. The SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy) diagnosis at 4 weeks of age could have been a death sentence for this small boy. He remained completely paralyzed for 11 agonizing months. But then miraculously and to the complete amazement of the entire medical field, he regained movement. Small and still very limited movements to his neck, his shoulders, and his fingers. The diagnosis had to be wrong, right?? Sadly, after further testing, it was again confirmed. But the family and Andy persevered. Each day they maintain hope. Now he is 9 years old. Still defying the odds and baffling the doctors. He lives with his widowed mother and two of his older sisters. His care was 24 hours a day. He continued to learn, go to school, and communicate with the use of a special computer board and his eyes. His bright and very expressive eyes. Everyone around him sees the special, spunky and sometimes stubborn boy he has grown into. As he was growing up, his needs were changing. He is no longer a small baby, but a 4'9", 75 lb boy that is confined to a special chair or bed in only one area of the house. Doctors estimate his adult size will be 6'6". He has already outgrown the generous room addition donated by the local vocational school. He was in need of another bath to facilitate his hydro therapy. The flooring in his area of the house makes moving him from place to place nearly impossible for his mother & sisters. The narrow entry ways prevent him from leaving his area and the door leading to the outside would be a serious hazard if there were to be an emergency that required him to leave the house quickly. These were only a few of his immediate needs.