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Martin Luther King Jr. Week 2012

Care Giver/Care Receiver

Jacob Hartshorne, 22, of Mount Pleasant suffers from a rare syndrome called CHARGE syndrome. CHARGE syndrome is defined as “A recognizable (genetic) pattern of birth defects which occurs in about one in every 9-10,000 births worldwide. It is an extremely complex syndrome, involving extensive medical and physical difficulties that differ from child to child,” (chargesyndrome.org/about-charge.asp).

Hartshorne can’t understand or speak language. He can understand some sign language and can also sign some as well. His main method of communication is using PECs. This is a picture system in which he can ask for things he wants, places to go, or things to do.

“Jacob has some difficultly with balance and is uneasy when walking alone-unassisted-on uneven ground (stepping up on curbs, walking through grass, etc.) He has poor depth perception-sometimes he thinks he has to step over cracks in the sidewalk,” a caretaker, Sabrina Galla said.

Hartshorne has had people working with him since infancy, but usually only a few people. Since he moved into his house (next door to mom and dad-Tim and Nancy both psychology professors), he has had 24 hour care, the reason for so many more staff members. Tim and Nancy wanted to give Jacob the opportunities that any normal 22 year old has, within reason. In buying a house for Jacob, they have secured his future, when his parents are gone. They know that he wont end up being put into a home and that he’ll always be in an environment where he is comfortable and he is understood.

“Jacob is my inspiration. He has taught me to be very patient with others, and he really makes me think about what I’m thankful for in life. You never really think about those things until you’re in this kind of position where you’re around somebody who constantly has to have somebody helping them with simple tasks,” Galla said.

Jacob Holmes Hartshorne (22) has CHARGE syndrome, which is "a recognizable genetic pattern of birth defects which occurs in about one in every 9-10,000 births worldwide", http://chargesyndrome.org/about-charge.asp.

Sabrina Galla, a caregiver for Jacob Hartshorne, picks him up from the school bus Dec. 7. "Jacob has a hard time balancing on his own so we have to walk out to pick him up from infront of the house," Galla said.

"Ever since Jacob got this really bad ear infection in both of his ears, we have to put in eardrops everyday to help clear them up," Galla said.

Sabrina Galla holds Hartshorne's arms as he fights with his therapist who is giving him a treatment to help him swallow regularly instead of swallowing liquids to his lungs.

Sabrina Galla holds Jacob Hartshornes hands as he plays with his harpsiord. "He likes a lot of sensory things, so this is a great thing for him to have," Galla said.

Hartshorne has to wear a choclear implant so he can hear some sort of sound. "He hates wearing it. He always end up taking it off throughout the day," Galla said.

Caregiver/receiver Single

Jacob Holmes Hartshorne (22) has CHARGE syndrome, which is "a recognizable genetic pattern of birth defects which occurs in about one in every 9-10,000 births worldwide", http://chargesyndrome.org/about-charge.asp.

One Road To Another

Stacey Walker is a 19 year old, who has not had the privilege of being a “so-called” normal young adult. She lives in a home called Mary’s Mantle- a home for pregnant women that have no where else to go. “We allow women who are pregnant to stay here for up to a year,” Pat Parker, a house mother at Mary’s Mantle said. “After a year, the women are still able to keep in touch with us, but we can’t allow allow them to live here anymore because we must let other ladies into the house too”.

Stacey Walker looks at her roommates ultrasound pictures when she gets home from her doctors appointment. "I can't wait until I get my ultrasound pictures. I really want to see what my baby looks like".

Stacey is the youngest in the house and the least far along, being 4 and a half months into her pregnancy. Stacey got pregnant and lived with her boyfriends parents, until the fighting began between her and the, what she calls “babies daddy”. After she was kicked out she went to a shelter called The Salvation Army Demby Center in Detroit. “We were only allowed to eat three times a day, be up and out by 9 A.M., water was contaminated and slept on hard beds. There were two to six people in a room, which is where people would steal a lot of your stuff,” Stacey said.

"We get 200 dollars to pay for our groceries every week. Each week somebody else in the house uses their EBT card for groceries," Stacey said as they were grocery shopping Thursday afternoon.

“So after that I moved to Mary’s Mantle which was a big change. The six of us that stay here have already became such close friends. I don’t know what I’m going to do when they leave”.

Stacey Walker looks for a skirt to wear to church for Sunday mass from donations from the church for the girls to use while they stay at Mary's Mantle.

“Mary’s Mantle helps a lot. It’s a very positive environment, we go to church every Sunday and we learn from the other girls with their stories,” Stacey said. “Every girl here has a story, and some nights we’ll talk about them with a house mother as a group, which really helps us open up and share what we’re feeling”.

Stacey talks to a credit card company after she gave her credit card number to a man over the phone who told her they would put $7,000 into her account if they gave her their number. "I had no idea that's what they were calling for. I just got really excited when they told me that I was going to get money".

As the days, weeks and months remaining for Stacey at Mary’s Mantle, she will learn how to be a proper mother to her child, keep a job and keep a home. “I hope I can do it, I hope I can be a good mother to my child and live a safe, happy and successful life”.

Stacey Walker does her chore for Thursday night's by wiping down the table after a family dinner. "I wipe down the table every Thursday night and help out with doing the dishes. At first I hated having the chores but I've slowly learned that having this structure in my life is a good learning experience".

Stacey holds her roommates baby to keep him calm and sleeping after their long day at the hospital. "I love it when she comes home, because then I know that I'm going to be able to cuddle with her son for the rest of the night. I can't wait to do this with my baby," Stacey said.

Elizabeth Van Meter

When I first went into Moore 105, I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know what Elizabeth did, or what made her so important. After listening to her story, I was moved and very impressed with the work she did for this person she has never met.

Thao is a woman that lives out in Vietnam, and has birth defects relating to Agent Orange which is a chemical defoliant spread over Vietnam by the military during vietnam war. When Elizabeth met Thao she was intrigued immediately by her ambitious personality. When they asked Thao what she wanted more than anything in the world, it was 300 dollars for books for her library that was in a hut filled with fertilizers and maneuer. Elizabeth promised that she would try to achieve this goal for Thao, even though she didn’t have money herself to give her. She fundraised books, and money to give to Thao when she got home so she wouldn’t break her promise. Elizabeth found that she wanted to do this to give her something to look forward to and keep her mind occupied after the her sister had taken her own life. When she made the promise Elizabeth said “I’m going to do everything I can to build you a new library” even though she had no money at the time. Thao said “I love you forever”. She thought that the guilt she felt from her sisters death could be rectified by building this library for Thao.

A crew came together and after a long process, a library was built for Thao and the children of the town. Over 3,000 books, a new laptop and a statue was given to Thao for the library. The statue said, “The good leaves cover the torn leaves and the torn leaves cover the shredded leaves” which was a quote that meant a lot to Thao, so they gave her a statue that would mean a lot to her for that reason.

As I listened to her speak about her experiences over in Vietnam and with Thao and the building of the library, I was moved. I wanted to do something to help somebody in need as well. I hope someday I could do something that would change somebody’s life like Elizabeth has changed Thao’s life forever.

Counter Culture

Sister Mary Rachel closes her eyes and folds her hands to silently pray to her lord Jesus Christ Wednesday morning. “We go to church a lot. It’s what we were meant to do. Praising is what we love and God is who we love,” Sister Mary Rachel said.

Sister Mary Rachel is an active member of the Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma, Michigan. She has taken her final vows to dedicate her life to God. “Our sisters bind themselves by vow to observe the three evangelical counsels of poverty, charity and obedience,and to serve the poor, sick and ignorant”, (www.rsmofalma.org)

“I go in to help patients. We help to make them feel more comfortable, give them hope and pray with them if they want. In this case I wanted to help out a client of mine to make her feel more comfortable and ease her thoughts because she was being moved to a hospital in Grand Rapids. It’s not an easy task to tell somebody that they’re going to be transferred to a different hospital, but they seem to be understanding most of the time,” Sister Mary Rachel said.

Sister Mary Rachel is a doctor in Internal Medicine and works at the hospital, and at the office at an old catholic church. Most of the sisters teach together in seminaries or in primary schools or work in a hospital. They all together also work in common work like caring for the convents by cleaning, care of the land and by cooking.

“My life is about my dedication to God, and to be perfect like the Virgin Mary,” Sister Mary Rachel said. “Nobody is perfect, I know that, but Mary was and we aspire to be like her”.

Sister Mary Rachel says a scripture reading from the bible on Friday morning at their time of worship. To the right is a tabernacle, which is the fixed, locked box where in some Christian churches, the Eucharist is stored.

There are a total of six sisters in her convent in Alma, Michigan who have taken their final vows. They come from different backgrounds, two of which who weren’t always catholic, one of which who was a Pagan and chose to change later in life. Together they cook, clean and praise God in the way they we’re ‘meant to’, by choosing their life path to be a nun. “We all do our fair share here. We take turns making dinner, cleaning up dinner and so on. We all have very busy lives, considering that we’re all a form of doctor,” Sister Mary Rachel said. “We try our best to sit around the kitchen table together to wind down our day”.

Sister Mary Rachel bows her head in prayer as the priest gives the blessings of the cup on Friday morning. The Catholic Church teaches that when the bread and wine are consecrated in the Eucharist, they aren’t just the bread and wine anymore, but they become, respectively, the body and blood of Christ.

“The goal of the Institute is the praise and worship of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for the boundless mercy which has been revealed through the works of creation, redemption, and sanctification. The Sisters profess the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, as well as a fourth vow of service.”

The sisters of the convent in Alma, Michigan laugh and eat breakfast together Friday morning before they went off to their regular day jobs. “It’s hard to get together for breakfast and lunch. When we get to, its a great feeling and we have a great time talking,” Sister Mary Rachel said.

The sisters of the convent help carry Sister Monica down the side steps so she can go to work at their church. “We don’t really give her much to do, she just plays Solitaire on the computer. She used to be a big part of the office work, but instead of keeping her cooped up in the convent, we bring her here so she can live life as normally as possible,” Sister Mary Rachel said. “It’s been hard ever since her stroke happened trying to take care of her and get her to worship in the mornings”. Sister Monica passed away October 15, 2011 at 7:40 A.M. surrounded by her sisters at home. “We are so grateful for the precious week we had after her stroke to prepare for her entrance into eternal life”.