Sophia Young, hopes to raise enough money by selling handmade sun catchers to send her brother Caleb on a dream trip to Florida to swim with the dolphins.
ADA -Eleanor Roosevelt said, "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
The Young family knows this is true. While they live in Indiana now, they have lived in Ada twice, once around 1988, when they moved away, but then returned to Ada in 1991, when Kent Young became the pastor of the Ada Christian Church until 1993.Kent has been teaching college courses for a long time now and he's always been known as a great friend, wonderful listener, and from the way he's always spoken of his family, a true hero. Kent's wife, Janelle, teaches pre-school. She's an artist, too, who is vibrant, funny, and full of life. She, along with the rest of the family, likes to read. She also likes to have fun while being a devoted mother and wife.
Sophia, Kent and Janelle's daughter, is 13...but she is anything but typical. Sure, she likes to do the same stuff her friends do; she likes being a cheerleader, she likes to dance in her basement where she's hung posters of her favorite musicians - Greyson Chance seems to be the fave. She is also, however, equipped with a maturity beyond her years. She is very maternal when it comes to her brother Caleb, 23, who has Tetrasomy 18p. Caleb has been diagnosed with Tetrasomy 18p, which means he has an additional piece of chromosome 18. Symptoms can vary among diagnosed individuals.
According to Genetics Home Reference, a service of the U.S. Library of Medicine, Tetrasomy 18p "usually causes feeding difficulties in infancy, delayed development, intellectual disability, changes in muscle tone, distinctive facial features, and other birth defects." Babies born with it usually have trouble feeding, which is how Janelle Young first knew something was wrong.
Genetics Home Reference also says, "Tetrasomy 18p is associated with a distinctive facial appearance that can include unusually shaped and low-set ears, a small mouth, a flat area between the upper lip and the nose, and a thin upper lip. Many affected individuals also have a high, arched roof of the mouth."
Janelle describes some of Caleb's characteristics, saying, "He is missing a muscle across his face near his mouth, and he has small ears. He wears leg braces and his hands are starting to turn in from arthritis. He was born with a hole in his heart. He no longer has heart issues, though there is a heart murmur. His seizures have stopped."
Although doctors said Caleb would not walk or talk, he does both. It can be difficult to understand Caleb at times, as his speech is affected by the disorder. The fact that he is speaking at all, though, something the medical specialists said would never happen, is a miracle in itself.
He comes home often for visits, as he lives in a group home and works at a food bank, sorting and helping to deliver groceries to the elderly. He also loves the Jesters drama group he is a part of, which puts on a variety show featuring special needs adults every spring.
Caleb simply loves everyone, and he'll tell you that. He is very affectionate and kind, and a self-proclaimed "ladies man." He likes llamas and country music.
It is obvious the family realizes what a miracle he is. This family loves each other fiercely, and they wiped tears away more than once while talking about it. Caleb's sister Sophia had an idea a while back. A dream. Caleb has always wanted to swim with the dolphins. His family said he has never asked for anything - not once - in his life. But he really wants to swim with dolphins.
So Sophia began making and selling dolphin sun catchers to raise money for Caleb to go to Florida where they have a program that allows those with special needs to swim with the dolphins. The Special Needs Dolphin Pathways Program helps a myriad of those with special needs, including autism, cerebral palsy and genetic disorders. It's supposed to be very healing.
Sophia needs $15,000 total in order to pay for her brother to swim with the dolphins. If you'd like to contribute, you can buy the sun catchers Sophia is making out of light blue and purple tissue paper for $3 each by sending money to: Caleb's Dream Trip c/o Bippus State Bank, P.O. Box 519, Roanoke, IN, 46783. Sophia has also set up a Facebook page titled "Caleb's Dream Trip" where there is more information.