A message from our Chairman, Julen's Mom:
"44 appointments, numerous X-rays, ultrasounds, two urinalysis, three blood draws, a salivagram, a swallow study and three days in the hospital. That’s just the last month of Julen’s life.
Having health issues is a seemingly never-ending battle for some kids. Eating, breathing, moving, even smiling are things we take for granted. For some kids, each of these tasks is a formidable mountain to climb, each and every day.
Sadly, studies have shown that 60% of children with disabilities report being bullied compared to 25% of students. Living with a disability inevitably involves voluminous appointments and very often rigorous therapy. To the extent that it is preventable, it shouldn’t also include ridicule and bullying. I believe part of a child’s health is their self-esteem.
My name is Laura and Julen is my beautiful little man. He was born June 15, 2018 with a storm of health problems and complications. His life will likely be a constant battle to stay healthy. As his mom, I will do everything I can to keep him healthy and happy. Like most moms, I think one of my biggest jobs is to ensure that Julen has whatever he needs to reach whatever will be HIS maximum potential and to do whatever it takes to make sure he knows that he is strong, brave, loved, and worthy. My hope for him is that he can enjoy his childhood as much as possible.
That should be the goal for any child. I believe all kids deserve the chance to not be seen for their disabilities but for all their possibilities. To be free to concentrate on having fun and enjoying life without worrying about their medical equipment or fitting in.
I’ve stumbled into a life of specialists, equipment, and copays. I’m lucky to so far have been able to get the items that insurance doesn’t cover, but what about those who can’t?
Special needs parents shouldn’t have to worry about anything except their child’s medical needs. That’s where you can help!! There exists a gamut of products designed to help special needs kids think less about their health issues. Practical items that are often not covered by insurance that make living with a disability easier. Clothes without tags for kids with sensory issues, jackets designed for easy removal for kids in wheel chairs, clothes with pockets that conceal and secure feeding tubes, trendy shoes that zip around the sole for kids with leg braces, and the list goes on.
Many of the products we intend to purchase and donate are the result of ingenuity on the part of special needs moms around the country who have found ways to adapt and modify goods for their own special needs kids. Resourceful moms have figured out how to make items such as cute animal back packs that hold tube feedings, clothes designed with pockets that allow easy access to a child’s abdomen for tube fed kids, or even Paw Patrol eye patches instead of the standard black patch provided by many medical supply companies. Many of these moms have been unable to return to their normal working lives based on their children's disabilities and have formed these small businesses to help support their families. By supporting Julen Smiles, you are not only helping a special needs child that will receive a product from your donation, but you are also in turn helping a different special needs family from who we will be acquiring products.
You can be the reason a 5-year-old is able to wear the same clothes as her friend. Your contribution can be the reason a child has the confidence to tackle their next doctor’s appointment. Your generosity could make the difference between a child dreading school or being excited to learn and grow.
We cannot control the cards that any family is dealt, but we can make their hand easier to play. Together, we can give these kids the confidence that will help them face another day, another regression, or hospitalization. Every dollar you donate will improve the quality of life of a child who has already lived through more adversity than many of us could ever imagine.
Join my team and help make a difference, one smile at a time."
- Laura Gonzalez-Rua, Chairman, Julen Smiles, Inc.