By Lisa Anderson, mother of Amber and Alicia Whatley (Bert’s Big Adventure 2003)
Hello, I am Lisa, Amber and Alicia Whatley’s mom. We were one of the lucky families chosen to go on the first Bert’s Big Adventure trip in 2003. Amber and Alicia are my twins – 10 years old – are beautiful little girls, and both have Cerebral Palsy. They use walkers and wheelchairs for long distances, but they are intellectually on target with their fifth-grade class.
Bert’s Big Adventure was all it promised to be and much more. The memories are still fresh and still bring smiles to our faces. It was an amazing, fun-filled weekend that won’t compare to any other.
The Q100 crew that went made us feel like family and helped out with anything we needed. My girls were treated like little queens.
We also received a unique blessing as a result of the trip that I would like to share.
Upon our return home, our local newspaper called to ask if they could come to our home to get a picture of the girls and write an article. After the article was printed, we received a call from Larry Dewberry saying he was a part of an organization that helps folks with disabilities, called Assisting the Needs of the Disabled (A.N.D.). They asked if we needed a ramp for the wheelchairs, or if he could help make our home more wheelchair-accessible.
Mr. Dewberry asked if he and some of the people in A.N.D. could come take a look at the house. When they came, one of the things they noticed is that my bathroom door is narrower than average. Further, they commented that my bathroom wasn’t really wide enough for a wheelchair to maneuver around in, even if it fit through the door.
So what is A.N.D. going to do? They are going to gut my bathroom, make a wide opening and build a large, wheelchair-accessible bathroom, complete with a wheelchair-accessible shower…one that my girls can wheel themselves into with a special chair and take their own shower. In addition, they are going to take a wall down between two bedrooms in our home to make it large enough for them to get around in easily, compared to the tight squeeze it is currently.
The folks building it are professionals and are doing the labor from their hearts. I can’t explain the positive difference this change in our home will make in our everyday activities and how it will enable my girls to be so much more independent. It truly feels like we are witnessing miracles.
Our family was blessed in more ways than one. Bert’s Big Adventure, without realizing it, did leaps and bounds for my family. We love you all at Q100 and hope others have the opportunity to be blessed as we were.
(This article originally appeared on the AtlantaMoms.com website in February 2007)