The story of how four-year-old Cameron “Cammy” Babiarz, a client of Easter Seals DuPage & Fox Valley, uses “goal setting” as a motivational strategy was recently featured in the Blackhawk’s new book One Goal II: The Inside Story of the 2013 Stanley Cup Campion Chicago Blackhawks. Cammy was born with Rett syndrome, a rare neurological disorder that affects 1 in 10,000 children, and almost exclusively girls.
“We do so many things that are part of a daily ritual because of Cammy’s situation,” recalled her father, Bill. “But since she was diagnosed a couple of years ago, we found ourselves so busy with the daily chores that we weren’t setting goals to do more. So we decided to try doing things that were different, things that might seem normal to other kids.”
The Babiarz family created a summer 2013 bucket list of things to do including going to the beach, holding a sparkler on the Fourth of July and touching the Stanley Cup.
Bill said that by far, having Cammy touch the Stanley Cup was the longest shot of all, but it was the most important because even though Cammy cannot speak, walk or crawl, she is happy, social and likes to watch hockey on television.
On short notice, Blackhawk President and CEO John McDonough, helped Cammy achieve her goal. The Blackhawks asked the family to join Mr. McDonough at one of his appearances with the Stanley Cup, and Bill said they were treated like royalty.
“Jackie and I had no expectations beyond just being there,” Bill said. “But then we pulled the car up. Security knew who we were. We had our own parking place and Brandon Faber came right over to us . . . I was shocked!” Before his appearance, Mr. McDonough had a private greeting with Cammy and her family.
Cammy has received services at Easter Seals DuPage & Fox Valley for two years. Everyone in her family is involved, including her grandfather Bill who takes her to therapy sessions and attends the Grandparents Corner social group once per month.
“Cammy’s face lights up when we tell her that we’re going to see her therapist Sammy,” Grandpa Bill said. “Therapy can take time but we’ve noticed improvements when she stands. Cammy occasionally takes steps and she is much stronger.”
“Setting goals helps children achieve foundational skills, so that they can be more involved in their family and their community,” Laura Harmasch, Easter Seals DuPage & Fox Valley Occupational Therapist said.
This summer the Babiarz family will continue their bucket list tradition beginning with a run. Cammy’s father is running for awareness of Rett syndrome starting at the Mississippi River and ending in Chicago. You can run for awareness and help children with special needs by participating in our 11th Annual Run for the Kids: Superhero Hustle on May 3, 2014. For details, please visit: www.EasterSealsDFVR.kintera.org/runforthekids2014