Coping with caring for a child with special needs

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV) Caring for a child with special needs can be emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausting for a parent. Often, they need an outlet to release the stress. Kathy Sebright turned to her tradition of running to help her cope with caring for her son.

Emmett was born with Craniosynostosis, which is a birth defect of the skull that makes it form into a triangle instead of the normal round shape. The condition went undiagnosed for a year, until Emmett started having grand mal seizures. While investigating that, doctors discovered the Craniosynostosis and a lesion on Emmett’s brain.

Emmett had his first surgery at 15 months old, and has had two more since then to put his skull back to a shape that allows his brain to grow. Now three years old, he has to take medication every day and goes to therapy every week.

Kathy has been a distance runner for years, and she kept it up while Emmett was sick. She said it was important for her to keep running because it helped her cope with the increased care her son needed and gave her the strength to face those challenges. She is a Road Warrior in the Fifth Third River Bank Run, and is running the race for Cranio Care Bears, which raises money for care packages for children recovering from skull surgery.

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