Support from Strangers Empowers Family with Special Needs
Parenting children with special needs comes with unique challenges, but the Rogers family never expected the overwhelming support they’d receive from strangers along the way.
Marcia Messacar, junior mortgage closer
Chandler , Ariz.
Parenting comes with its challenges – and David Rogers and his wife have four boys to keep them busy, including several who have special needs.
“Two of them are on the autism spectrum – my 9-year-old and one of the twins,” David explains. “Then, the other twin, he has cerebral palsy.”
When Garrett was born, David and his wife didn’t recognize his disability right away, but soon it became obvious that he was developing slower than the norm. They knew their next step needed to be a doctor’s visit.
“What really triggered it was that Greyson was having seizures when (Garrett) was about a week or two old,” David explains. “(Doctors) realized there was some irregularity on (Greyson’s) brain – and he actually has a little bit of cerebral palsy, but it’s a much milder form.”
When doctors performed an MRI and CT scan on Garrett, they found his cerebral palsy was a bit more severe than his brother’s. Doctors concluded Garrett would need therapy and assisted living the rest of his life.
Working alongside David at the same company, Hayden Messacar would often return home from work and share stories of the four boys with his wife, Marcia.
“I mentioned to him that we were looking to get a service dog for Garrett to help him with mobility and balance, because he has trouble walking,” David explains.
But the cost of a service dog runs anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000, depending on the level of training needed. “There’s not really any organizations out there that take care of it,” David says. “Everything’s just done off donations and charity.”
When Bell’s junior mortgage closer Marcia Messacar learned of the Rogers family’s need and the big expense that came with it, she put her Pay It Forward funds to work.
“I just thought, ‘Man, how can I not give at this point?’ That was when I decided (the Rogers family) definitely deserved that money,” she says.
Sharing the need with her coworkers, Marcia was humbled by their responses. “One email after another came back, and everybody wanted to contribute to these kids,” she recalls. “The support from my company was amazing.
Together, they raised $14,500 for the family.
“He was kind of speechless,” Marcia says. “He had no idea what we were giving him – it was just awesome – and then for him to realize he could get a dog for his kids was just beyond.”
“The younger kids, they don’t know the dollar value, but they realized something very special happened,” David recalls.
Advocating for special needs children, David emphasizes that aside from the added monetary costs, the physical and emotional care can be draining.
“It’s a struggle, and it’s something that’s hard for parents to try and put into words. It’s hard to ask for help,” he says. “To get that amount of assistance from complete strangers was just overwhelming.”
Bell’s culture is something Marcia has always known was unique, but for others to feel the effects of philanthropy is all the more fulfilling.
“The attitude and atmosphere (at Bell) has always been incredible,” Marcia says. “To be able to actually give somebody something to prove that, ‘No, this is who we are, and this is what we do’ is really amazing.”
Through the Pay It Forward program, Bell gives employees money each year to donate to people and causes they care about.