I don’t know about you, but stories about triumph, tough kids, and a mother’s love – are my favorite. Liz and Emily (and dad, Chris) are the epitome of resilience and we’re honored to share their story.
Eight years ago, Liz and Chris Keicher of Lancaster, were given a crushing diagnosis for their unborn child. Their sweet baby would be born with Spina Bifida. It was a scary, confusing, upsetting, devastating time. But, the couple worked to learn all they could. They researched – they talked with family and friends – and prepared for the best while expecting the worst. They were actually encouraged to terminate the pregnancy – which wasn’t an option for the couple.
Fast forward seven years and my-oh-my how things have changed. Liz says Emily is doing phenomenal. “When I look back at the bleak awful moment of diagnosis, the dark months that followed and how scary the future looked, it’s hard to believe we are talking about the kid we have today.” The 2nd grader who loves to read, sing, make crafts, paint, and run.
Four years ago, Emily graced the cover of ‘Parents Magazine’. Sporting a huge smile as she broke barriers. You notice her spirit and smile more than that walker.
Emily doesn’t let her ankle-foot orthotics and forearm crutches get in her way. She is a very determined little girl. Yes, she has a variety of therapies several times per week, and has some challenges that other children don’t – but, she’s worked – literally her entire life – to overcome them. Liz says there’s no doubt – her daughter inspires her every single day, “For us she is a reminder that we make our own destiny, and that perseverance is the key.” That’s important for all of us to remember.
They do not treat Emily as “disabled” or “different” – and they never assume she can’t do something. Instead they watch in awe as she overcomes. You see, Emily can teach all of us to stop sweating the small stuff. To stop worrying about the things we can’t control. She can teach us to stop treating others differently – that each of us is unique in one way or another – and that is what should be embraced, loved, and appreciated. Liz and Chris want for Emily what we all want for our children – happiness and success. A life filled with joy. They want her to feel comfortable and confident in herself, and know she has a place in the world. Because, there is a place for all of us – and it takes time, and effort to find it, but it’s there. Emily can teach us that and more. So can her parents. Liz and Chris can serve as a reminder of the importance of acceptance and advocacy. We are the ones our kids will look to for guidance, love, and support. We are the ones who set the example – to persevere.
Thank you, Liz, Chris and Emily for reminding all of us what is truly important in life.