We all have unique stories, circumstances and challenges. At Reminderband we strive to help you share them with the ones you love or help you gain support. We want to hear your stories! Please submit your unique tale in the comments below.
We will choose a story at random to create a custom wristband for to help them share their tale! Also, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to see the winner! Contest will run until Valentine’s Day (February 14th).
The stories that we hear at the Reminderband offices never cease to amaze us. There are stories of courage, strength and loss. The story we would like to share this week encompasses all of these. Kayla Runte was born October 1st 2004. From birth her complications could have tarnished her bright spirit but with love from her family and friends she was able to live a life centered on happiness and growth. Below is her story, as told by her mother.
“Kayla had complications at birth, 08/01/04 and was diagnosed with Hypotonia. At 4 months of age, Kayla was then diagnosed with Failure to Thrive and many tests were done to determine if she had some type of genetic disorder. At 6 months, doctors diagnosed her with Cerebral Palsy. We found Penfield Children’s Center, which is a birth to three program where children with special needs can go to receive much needed services such as physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. Kayla was placed with three wonderful therapists (PT, OT and Speech) who would work with her until she turned three and transitioned to the public school to receive the same services. At age 1 she started having seizures (myoclonic, tonic and petit mal were among the varieties) and was put on several medications to control them. The seizures were never 100% controlled. We would see an increase in seizures when she was not feeling well, but we just learned that she could still manage to live with them day to day.
Kayla had her good days and bad days, her hospital stays and her clinic visits. As her Mom, I learned quickly who I could talk about her long list of medical needs with. Often times it was hard to keep up with all of her needs let alone try to explain what she was going through day to day. Many schedules were made to give an ever increasing list of medications to her throughout the day. My husband and I would be up in the middle of the night with her. She wasn’t your typical child who would “start sleeping through the night” at a certain age.
After 5 years we just could not maintain Kayla’s day to day needs with her night needs and found ourselves very tired and drained. Getting to appointments was getting harder and harder to do on my own. Often times I would have to pull over to the side of the highway to suction Kayla as she was choking on her saliva. Her muscles were just not strong enough to get an effective swallow and I needed a nurse to travel to appointments. In Spring of 2009 Kayla qualified for nursing coverage at night and to assist with doctors visits which was a blessing. We started to get our sleep again which helped us to focus on our other child, Brook, and her ever growing interests. She was born in October of 2000 and 8 at the time.
I could go on and on about the struggles that Kayla and our family had, but the main focus that I want to share is that as Kayla grew older and got into school we tried to focus on the quality of her life and how she could communicate without ever speaking a word. We enrolled her in a study at the Waisman Center in Madison, Wisconsin which focused on communication of children diagnosed with cerebral palsy. We learned a lot from the group there and shared the results and suggestions with the therapists at school. Kayla had learned to make decisions with a “yes” or “no” response by just looking with her eyes either to her left for yes or to her right for no. She also had learned to control her environment with an simple cause/effect switch placed carefully near her temple which she would push with her head to turn on music (she LOVED music) or some other toy. She also used a switch that was placed on her tray that she could also push with her hand to manipulate a toy, but that was a lot more work for her.
Kayla had play dates with other children where we would bake cupcakes and decorate them or do some activity. We tried very hard to fully include Kayla just like at school so we would hook up Kayla’s head switch and she would push the button to turn on the blender to mix the cupcake batter. A friend in her class, Alexis, had even picked Kayla to join her and her mom to go to The American Girl store to celebrate her birthday. A trip like that was unheard of since we tried to stay close to home, but with careful planning it proved to be a wonderful time! We even put pictures of selections on Kayla’s iPad so that she could pick an outfit for her doll and then Alex could look around the store to find it. We would show Kayla the pictures and she would look to her left for “yes” or to her right for “no”. We would also give her options to push a button which would have a pre-recorded message and she would work very hard to left her arm to push the button. It was a beautiful day!
There are many of those moments of friendship that touched my heart to share! Her friends love her and even though Kayla was in a wheelchair and didn’t speak a word they could communicate with her just by looking at her facial expressions or by her yes/no response. Kayla was in Girl Scouts. She was a daisy for two years. Last year in April Kayla had hip surgery and the entire school rallied around to support her by wearing butterfly hair clips and Kayla’s Krew tattoos. The tattoos were purchased for our annual participation in Joe’s Run, Walk and Roll for UCP in southeastern Wisconsin. We had started participating when Kayla was 1 year old and have many pictures of Kayla’s Krew as it grew in size each year. Our 7th year was our biggest year; we had a goal of having 70 people sign up, instead we had 78 people join our team! This was similar to the amount of people who came to our home the night of Kayla’s passing.
On the day of her passing, Kayla had teachers, her principal, her therapists, friends, family all come to see her. Our home was filled with people, but it also felt like it was just Kayla and our family. One of us was always at Kayla’s side holding her hand, rubbing her feet or simply talking to her. Kayla was a social little girl and loved music so to have everyone there to see her and to have the neighbor boy, Sam, there to play his violin for her was simply beautiful!”
Kayla leaves a memory and a beautiful legacy in the hearts of everyone who has heard her story. To this day Kayla’s family continues to honor her life they have continued to participate in Joe’s Run, Walk and Roll for UCP. The walk just completed it’s 8th year, the first year without Kayla. Kayla’s grandmother, Darlene, still makes butterfly hair clips to sell and now here at Reminderband we make orange butterfly bracelets to honor Kayla’s life. The Runte family is also striving to build a playground where children and adults with all abilites can come together to play. It will be a fully wheelchair accessible playground to include all children and all abilities.
To read more about Kayla’s story and the fundraising efforts her family plans to participate in (including wristbands) head over to www.kaylaskrew.org.
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Every year in the United States there are around 1,500 child homicide cases; 1,500 too many. The stories tear at our hearts and raise our awareness. One such stories recently came to our attention here at Reminderband. It is the story of Madison and Caroline; two adorable twins murdered by their father. Below is their story, in their mother’s words. Here at Reminderband we seek to raise awareness to stories like their’s by sharing their message.
I separated from Madison and Caroline’s father in September of 2011. This was prompted by very odd behaviors that he was displaying. He was extremely controlling, demeaning and verbally abusive towards me but never to the children. He also had a hug shoplifting addiction. I moved myself, the girls and my 14 year old son from a previous marriage into my mother’s house. We both had lawyers and were going to court over custody. The girls were appointed a guardien ad litem and both of us were going to have a mandatory psychological evaluation. This did not come soon enough however. His behavior began to escalate as he continued to text me constantly during the day and try to keep me from seeing the girls. I had them Monday through Friday and he had them on the weekends. This was put into written agreement drawn up by our lawyers.
Their father picked the girls up Friday morning, January 27th. He walked in the door and gave me a big hug……apologizing for something he had said to me earlier in the week. Another odd behavior…….showing affection towards me after being extremely hateful. This was the last time I saw Madison and Caroline.
I called the girls every Saturday morning to check on them after I got to work. On the 28th I was unable to reach them by phone. I left directly from work and headed to the house. There I found my daughters and their father. All three had been dead for over 12 hours. He had channeled carbon monoxide into their bedroom using air conditioning duct work attatched to the tail pipe of his minivan and then put them to bed. He then slit the girls’ throats and his own. It was horrific……an image that will never leave my mind.
‘I don’t know if there’s any training that can prepare you for an incident of this sort.’ Said Sgt Chris Whitely, Hanover Police. (Read more).
Hearing a story of this magnitude is never easy or pleasant. The girls mother seeks to share their story to hopefully save a child in the future. If anyone reading has questions or comments feel free to leave them on this post.
On July 20, 2012 a real life nightmare unfolded in a Aurora, Colorado cinema. 58 people were wounded and 12 killed that night; all remembered by there families, friends and the world. Rebecca was among the 12 who lost their lives unjustly; one of her life long best friends, Carmen, told us that Rebecca, “. . . never met a stranger, she knew no race and no gender.” Her kindness and acceptance made her truly one of a kind. Rebecca was a single mother of two girls who were 5 and 9. Friends say her light emanates in them and they were her number one priority. “She puts everyone in front of herself but above all her girls.”
“We called her our bright light,” Carmen said while lost in thought about Rebecca.
Rebecca was one of a kind, fluent in Mandarin, she served in the U.S. Armed Forces as a translator while raising her daughters and putting herself through school to become a social worker. Her dream? To help troubled teens. Her legacy was selfless, throughout her life she hosted six foreign exchange students and brought home stray animals needing love. Friends hope that Rebecca’s death can leave behind a story that brings more love to the world. After her funeral friends and family gathered at her favorite pub to have a “Cheers!” for her life, a moment that Carmen described as “A celebrating, not a mourning, of her amazing life.”
A memorial will be held in Texas for Rebecca’s friends and family on August 18th (date subject to change).