Julian Finds Hope and Dignity Through the Gift of Mobility

Hope Through Hardship - Julian Gets His Wheels

CFC gifts from federal employees are making a global impact to impact the lives of children and adults living with disabilities. Here is just one of the many ways federal employees are making a difference.
Eight-year-old Julian, of the Dominican Republic, has early onset muscular dystrophy, which causes progressive weakness and muscle degeneration. Because his disease is progressing, Julian can no longer walk, but still had some torso and neck strength at the time of his wheelchair seating on 3/8/20. His grandmother is raising him because his mother was killed in a motorcycle accident when he was two.
Julian takes 120 pills per month for his medical needs, but his pharmaceutical needs exceed what Grandma can afford. Without insurance or any other outside financial assistance, Grandma is forced to beg for money to purchase the medication. The family does not own a car, so his determined Grandma carries Julian piggy-back style a half mile to and from school each day. When she takes Julian to the hospital, she stops to rest often, so the trip takes a long time every time.
Due to his condition, Julian is socially isolated and vulnerable. He is no longer able to run and play with the other children. Instead, he is teased and bullied at school. Sometimes, his schoolmates even hit him. Julian has two friends who sometimes visit him, but that doesn’t happen often. Typically, his only positive contact with other children is with his cousins.
But God had other plans for Julian and his grandmother. A teacher from Julian’s school visited Iglesia Bautista Internacional church. That same day, the pastor announced that a Joni and Friends Wheels for the World Outreach was coming to their area to distribute wheelchairs and fit them to the recipients. He encouraged the congregation to take applications for anyone who needed a wheelchair. The teacher thought of Julian and delivered an application to his grandmother. She was warned that Julian had a one in 100 chance to receive a wheelchair. But Providence intervened with a special pediatric wheelchair being delivered directly to Julian’s home, along with a full seating team to adjust the chair specifically for Julian’s body and physical needs for support. Now, as Julian grows and his strength and mobility deteriorate, this chair will be adjusted to serve his mobility needs.
The wheelchair is life-changing for the whole family. What a tremendous relief for Julio’s grandmother physically and emotionally. She no longer needs to carry her growing grandson on her back every day. She can push Julian in his wheelchair to school and to the hospital, which now takes far less time, without the need to stop and rest every few steps from the weight of an eight-year-old boy on her back. But for grandma, the best gift of all is that Julian now has mobility. On the day he received his wheelchair, Julian declared, “The first place I want to go is to school and then to the park.” Julian can now be fully present with the other children where they all play.
Delia, Julian’s grandmother, said this, “There are not enough words to express my gratitude. I am so thankful for this gift for my grandson. When my daughter got the call from someone at the church about this wheelchair, I was very suspicious because no one gives anything away, especially something like a wheelchair. I couldn’t believe the news I was hearing. It was unbelievable to me. I was overjoyed at the news and now, seeing Julian in his wheelchair … well I just do not have enough words to say ‘thank you’ to the people who made this gift possible. I can never repay them.”
Thank you, federal employees for giving though CFC. Through YOU, your gifts help us serve the world so every person with a disability finds Hope and dignity.

Charity Name
Joni and Friends
Photo Caption
Julian in his new wheelchair with grandma and JAF volunteers
Photo Credit
Degna Horton, JAF staff member