THE LIONS CHANGED MY LIFE Newfound Freedom Four-year-old Zade Kooistra loves playing with his toy tractors and Legos. But getting down on the floor to play with them was an unwieldy challenge. Zade was born with myelomeningocele spina bifida and is paralyzed from the hips down. When Zade’s parents, Shannan and Josh, found out about the ZipZac® chair, they knew it would help him gain independence and engage in life more fully. Designed for young children with mobility needs, the ZipZac® sits low to the ground and is easy to maneuver, making it a breeze for children to play, interact and explore. Shannan wrote to the Stanton Lions in her Michigan town hoping they might assist with the steep $1,000 cost. Lion Larry Beardslee then asked other area clubs to help out, making this gift a group effort by the Greenville, Lakeview, Carson City, Crystal, Edmore, Sheridan and Stanton clubs. These days, energetic Zade can be found happily zipping around, keeping up with his two sisters and delighting in his toy tractors. Q&A: Shannan Kooistra LION Magazine: How did you find out about the ZipZac®? Shannan Kooistra: We found out about it from other parents with children with spina bifida. To move around, Zade would “army crawl” or we would carry him, so we knew if he could get one it would give him a lot of freedom to get around. But we couldn’t afford it. Josh is recovering from a work injury and I’m a full-time student. It’s awesome how kind and generous the Lions were. LM: How did Zade react when he received the chair? SK: His reaction was priceless! He knew it was a mini wheelchair just for him. When he realized how easy it was to use, he was ecstatic. LM: What do you appreciate most about the ZipZac®? SK: One thing is that it’s safer for his back and it’s easier on his body for him to use. That helps him conserve energy he would otherwise use for getting around to play with more enjoyment. He just learned to get in and out of it himself, so he uses it as much as possible at home. LM: What impact does the ZipZac® have on Zade’s development? SK: We’re instilling in Zade that despite his different abilities he can do anything he puts his mind to. He’s been through eight surgeries, has a shunt in his brain and has frequent doctor appointments, but he’s so full of life. Everyone he meets is his friend. The ZipZac® brings more freedom, hope and normalcy to his life. The Lions’ gift was such a blessing for our family. Lions, has your club heard from a recipient of your service or charity? Tell us about the feedback you’ve received from those whose lives you’ve changed for the better. Email a brief description to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include “Thank You” in the subject line.
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