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Robert’s Road Warriors

Join Easter Seals Greater Houston and Chairmen Katherine and Bob Dowdell on Saturday, April 9th for the 5th Annual Family Fun Walk, Walk With Me, at the Houston Zoo.  The Dowdell’s, alongside their team, Robert’s Road Warriors, are walking to support their 19 year old son Robert who struggles with cerebral palsy and epilepsy.

“Robert was first diagnosed with cataracts and then cerebral palsy at the age of 14 months.  Fortunately, he was able to participate in Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) – physical, occupational and speech therapyECI offers a jump start for children with delayed developmental issues like Robert. While many of those years were mixed with hardships and challenges, Easter Seals was a constant support throughout. Easter Seals was with our family every step of the way to make Robert’s “disability” seem more like a “different ABILITY”.

Robert attended his first Easter Seals Camp when he was seven years old.  smiles robert dowdellHe attended Camp Buckaroo, a summer day camp for kids with special needs, and Camp Smiles, a week long spend-the-night camp in Burton, Texas.  Robert had never spent the night away from home, but I packed up his walker, wheelchair and orthotics for his adventure.  At camp, Robert was encouraged to try new things he never dreamed he could do, as he needed assistance with many everyday tasks. He did all the normal camp things; horseback riding, zip line, fishing, shot archery, sang karaoke, and danced and – for the first time in his life, he like a “normal” kid. He was loved for who he was, just as he was.  At the end of each camp session, Robert would cry when he saw we were there to pick him up…he didn’t want to leave!

????????????????????????????????????At age 15, Robert attended Camp Most. Camp Most is focused less on activities and more on building socialization skills in teens.  Robert learned important things like how to start a conversation, how to tell people about his disability, and how to determine his strengths to build a resume.  Robert has learned how to set goals.  His goals for 2016 include: to do his BEST in everything that he CAN do, to be a better brother to his sister, Katie and to be independent.  Easter Seals Camps have proven to be some of the most transformative events in Robert’s life to date.

Community support of Walk With Me is a blessing to many families in the greater Houston area – one that the Dowdell Family can personally attest to. Easter Seals provides life-changing services to people of all ages with all types of disabilities.  Thanks to Easter Seals, Robert is strong, happy, perseverant and optimistic about his bright future, and we are confident that Easter Seals will continue to help him become more self-reliant and prepare him for his future. Please consider supporting Walk With Me to guarantee services for Robert and other Houstonians with disabilities to help them discover their potential and hope for limitless possibilities!”

-Katherine Taylor Dowdell
Walk With Me Chair, Proud mother of Katie (22) and Robert (19) and grateful beneficiary of Easter Seals Greater Houston programs

Katherine and Robert DowdellMore About Walk With Me: 
Walk With Me is a 5K or shorter Family Fun Walk that helps raise awareness and resources for programs of Easter Seals, which help children and adults living with all types of disabilities. For more information contact Madison Shofner at 713-838-9050×304 or mshofner@eastersealshouston.org or visit our event website, click here!

More About the Dowdell Family:
Robert lives in Briargrove Park with his family.  His father, Bob, is an executive with Prosperity Bank and his mother, Katherine, is a retired banker and fundraiser.  Katherine serves on the Board of Directors for Easter Seals and Bob was instrumental in gaining the support of Prosperity Bank, the Title Sponsor for this year’s Walk With Me event.  Robert’s big sister, Katie, is a senior at Louisiana State University.  Robert is a senior at Westside High School.  He is active in Best Buddies Texas, Capernaum-a Young Life group for special needs kids, and Easter Seals Camp Most.

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Happy Holidays – and 41 successful families holiday adoptions!

anadarkoThis holiday season, Zeta Tau Alpha Houston Alumnae Association (HAA) partnered with Easter Seals of Greater Houston for a Holiday Toy Drive. Easter Seals of Greater Houston assists over 6,500 children and adults with all types of disabilities and their families a year, 70% of them living below the poverty level and mostly because of medical and caregiver issues. Every year, Easter Seals’ therapists who are in the homes and see first-hand the need, nominate the families that they know are especially in need and so nominate their most neediest of families for holiday adoption. With HAA’s generous donations, Easter Seals is able to provide a brighter holiday for these 41 families in need.  As we begin to deliver our toys and donations to the families in need, it’s never too late to start thinking of next year.  Maybe you and your friends and family would like to do something.  My own son was very moved when he helped deliver toys to a family in need so for his next birthday, we will be doing a “Pajama Jam” collecting pjs instead of gifts.  Mom really wanted to do a “sock hop” and collect socks but he informed me that wasn’t “cool”!  Those are just a couple of ideas and the possibilities are endless.  Some of the things you can collect in addition to toys are blankets, diapers and wipes, and gift cards.

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I know firsthand how much this means to the families.  The looks on the children’s faces are priceless but the emotional responses from the parent’s are what get me every time.  I know it’s such a hectic time with lots of holiday activities going on but it just amazes me how generous all of our donors are at this time of year and always!  I really want to thank the wonderful women of Zeta Tau Alpha Houston Alumnae Association (HAA) for partnering with Easter Seals for their holiday toy drive!  If you would like more information on adopting a family, #PJDAY, Toy & blanket drives etc, please contact the Easter Seals Development Department.

ESGH would also like to thank North Highland, VCS, Prosperity Bank, our Board of Directors, our staff, Anadarko, The Cruise Center, Century21, Memorial Lutheran School, St Marks Episcopal School, Newmark Homes, Blinds.com, the Texas Rangers Baseball team and many many more!

Sonia Salas, Assistant Director, Easter Seals Greater Houston

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