I drove with the girls to Atlanta in February 2013 to attend our first Abilities Expo. We had the good fortune of meeting Karen Kain and attending her presentation, "A Unique Life Fully Lived". This was also the place where Kellisa climbed her first indoor rock wall.
At the time of meeting Karen Kain, I had almost 14 years in the world of disabled children. I would have guessed that I had either lived or seen it all. I was wrong. As far as I know, we've never known anyone who was vaccine injured. Unfortunately, that was the case with Lorrin, Karen's daughter. At the time, I didn't know anything about vaccine injuries.
The fact that I had no idea still scares me. My girls had been vaccinated per their pediatrician's schedule and we never questioned it. I'm sure we signed something agreeing to the risks, but they were never fully communicated to us.
Lorrin lived 6 weeks before she was significantly injured by a vaccine. Like Kellisa, the doctors didn't give Lorrin much of a chance for a future. Lorrin would prove the doctors wrong! Unlike Kellisa, Lorrin had those first 6 weeks. Before reading Karen's book, I had no idea (and I still don't because I believe you can't truly know unless you lived it yourself) how a mother could go on under those circumstances. But Karen shares her intimate process of growth in excepting the fact that she was Lorrin's mom. In fact, Karen dedicated her life to Lorrin so she could live her life fully. Beyond Lorrin, countless other children and families have benefited from Karen's devotion.
This book shares Lorrin's medical journey which includes extreme struggles with seizures. It easy for parents of medically complicated children to get bogged down with the never ending necessities of keeping their child healthy and in many cases, alive. Karen was able to manage Lorrin's care while always looking for new options with an open mind. I'm thankful that Karen has shared her mindset and the things that helped Lorrin. I've spent many hours researching alternatives now that Karen has pointed the way.
Karen also found a way for Lorrin to experience the outdoor world. Anyone who knows me or ever stumbled upon this blog, knows how important this is to me and Kellisa. I felt a bond with Karen shortly after meeting her, but when she discussed cross country trips with Lorrin to have an experience with dolphins and her visits to national parks, I knew that we were two people with similar children and shared similar passions. Perhaps the most impressive fact about Karen, she basically raised Lorrin alone. Again, I can't even begin to comprehend.
I would say this is a must read for anyone in our community, but it should appeal to everyone because it's really a true story about love. It's also a story that proves you can't judge a child by how they look. Lorrin changed the world for the better and Karen continues changing the world. Karen's mission is simple, yet more important than anything else, help those that need it most.
Disclaimer: I've had the book since it was released and I haven't been able to read the final chapter. It hits way too close to home.
Laurel really insists on helping push Kellisa and for some reason, Kellisa seems to enjoy it more when Laurel pushes. Maybe it's because Laurel never avoids mud, roots or rocks and prefers a zigzag route instead of a straight line?