These days, Nika has become a very busy and productive toddler. In a given week, she sees up to nine different therapists who are all working hard to improve her quality of life. While working hard is important, I always want to make sure we have a good balance of work and fun.
So, we decided to try running and even completed our first 5k in July. After that 5k, we were hooked and now we aren’t just running, we are training. We go for a run almost everyday together, and Nika absolutely loves it. With the wind in her hair, rolling over all of the bumps, seeing the trees overhead, Nika and I have found a new level of freedom that at one time I never imagined would be possible.
In Haiti, where Nika was born, this simple freedom just isn’t a possibility for most children with disabilities. During my time serving in Haiti, I found there is extremely limited access to pediatric wheelchairs and the truth is, even if they are lucky enough to receive one, Haiti’s terrain is so rough, that they don’t last. In fact, I am still in contact with multiple families whose children are constantly needing urgent medical care for the parasites and other infections they are getting, due to sitting in the dirt and not having a chair with proper support.
Additionally, without any mode of transport, it makes it extremely difficult for them to be able to leave the house and be a part of the community around them.
So how do we get them safely off of the ground, out in their community, and in something that will last? I’ve found that the most practical solution is a jogging stroller.
That’s why we are running.
Nika, my fiancé (Stephen), and I are training for various 5k races with the goal that for each race we complete, we will send one brand new Jogging stroller to a child with disabilities in Haiti. We found a high quality jogging stroller heavily discounted, that is tough enough for Haiti’s terrain and we are partnering with an amazing ministry in northern Haiti, Footprints of the Son, who have a fantastic outreach program helping families independently care for their children with disabilities. They have chosen families to receive a stroller and will continue working with these families to ensure the chairs are maintained and used properly.
In order to do this, we need you to join Team Nika. We made bracelets with the slogan, “Every life has a purpose and #TeamNika” etched in them. They are $5 a piece (shipping included) and every cent received will go towards the cost of buying the stroller, shipping it to Haiti, custom fees, and also purchasing a food blessing for the recipient’s family. We only need to sell 100 bracelets per race to reach our goal.
We will come up with a new design and bracelet each month we are running in a 5k, so you can begin collecting #teamnika bracelets along with us. They are on sale in the store now. Simply go to littlewarriornika.com/shop and buy yours today. Then please share this video and help spread the word.
Thank you for listening and considering joining #teamnika as we work to spread awareness and help give freedom and independence to children in Haiti who not only need it, but deserve it, because EVERY LIFE HAS A PURPOSE!
*This campaign is in no way sponsored by Burley or Mazda. The discounted chairs are available to the public.
Footprints of the Son
Living day to day in Haiti is a constant struggle for many families, and having a child with disabilities is often seen as having an additional burden. Very few individuals are educated on disabilities, and therefore the children are often neglected, abandoned, seen as a curse, and even directed to voodoo leaders for treatment. At Footprints of the Son, we believe it is imperative to come alongside of these families and help guide them and advocate for their child to be a valued and loved member of their family.
Footprints of the Son strives and advocates for family preservation through our outreach program. It is our desire for children with disabilities to remain in their families, and to receive the necessary care and assistance they need to not only survive, but thrive! Our outreach program consists of over forty-five families raising children with disabilities in Haiti, and it is continuously growing. We are seeing these families develop in amazing ways as they embrace, love, and put value on their children with disabilities.
When a family becomes part of the Footprints of the Son outreach program, we conduct an initial survey and assessment. We work with the family to prioritize their needs and determine which services would best help both the child and family. We visit each family at their home at least twice a month, and maintain constant contact with them so they never feel lost or alone. We work within the communities the outreach families live in to foster compassion and encourage acceptance from their neighbors.