MOMs advocate for special needs



March 22, 2013 - 12:00 AM

Apart from nurturing and giving a child unconditional love, mothers must be their child’s biggest advocates, a responsibility Mothers of Miracles (MOMs) takes very seriously.
MOMs is a group of five women, Lesley Skahan, Kelci Botts, LeAnn Church, Amy Welch and Tara Nicholas, who share one major thing in common; they are all mothers of special needs children. 
“You have to fight for your kid,” Welch said.
Fight for their children is exactly what these women are doing. April 6 the MOMs are holding the inaugural Stroll and Roll, a 3K walk at Riverside Park.
The walk will begin at 11:30 a.m. with registration beginning at 10 a.m.
“It’s not a competition,” Church said. “It will be a leisure walk, or stroll and roll, up to 3K. People can walk however long they want.”
The walk is designed to bring awareness to area community members who might be in the same boat as the MOMs and to celebrate their children.
“Some of our children can’t do sports and activities, this is their time to shine,” Skahan said.
“It’s about celebrating their abilities instead of labeling them as special needs,” Church added.
Each of the mothers will have their child’s miracle story posted for walkers to read. Other parents with similar stories are welcome to send in their stories, which can be emailed until April 3 to [email protected]

THE GROUP was started in 2011 by Skahan in search of mothers who were going through similar challenges.
They meet once a month for a mommy’s night out. They rotate homes and meet for dinner.
“Our mom’s night out is our time away,” Skahan said. “We eat dinner and end up talking about our kids.”
The MOMs participated in a walk similar to the Stroll and Roll in October and were so impressed by the event they agreed to bring it to their local communities.

THE WOMEN share one mission but their stories are all different.
Welch is the mother of Kooper, two and a half. He was born premature at 25 weeks due to pre-eclampsia. Kooper wasn’t Amy and her husband Scott’s first child.
In 2009, Amy gave birth to a baby girl Kalli who was born premature. She weighed only 1 pound, 3 ounces and fought for five days until she contracted a deadly bacteria. 
When Kooper was born he weighed 2 pounds, 1 ounce and was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension in his lungs. He spent 110 days in the neonatal intensive care unit.
“When he gets a cough it can quickly turn serious with numerous hospital stays,” Welch said. “The doctors keep reassuring us that he will grow out of his lung issues with minor complications in the future. They both are miracles. Kalli is definitely her brother’s guardian angel.”
Kooper has been receiving speech therapy for the past year.

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