Nicole Weckherlin joined the team in the Cerebral Palsy (CP) Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital four years ago. She spent the decade prior working with kids with CP in the school system. As an occupational therapist, Nicole says these children have always motivated and inspired her, because therapy can make such an impact on their lives. Jansen is one such child.
We always say the greatest resources that we pass onto our patients are the ones patients have given us. Jansen and his family truly embody this.
Jansen has been a patient here for quite some time. He has a diagnosis of spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and is dependent for mobility, transfers and self-care. While he may be a very involved kiddo, his family surely doesn’t treat him like that, nor does he treat himself like that. They have high expectations for him, and he certainly gives it right back to them. To say the least, I’ve been so impressed with him and his family.
Jansen and his family live about three hours away with an incredible community around them. Recently, his community put on a huge fundraiser to help Jansen and his family. After collecting the proceeds, his family then turned around, came to our clinic and presented us with two iPad Modular Hose mounts. Jansen has one and whenever they come to the hospital, people stop and ask, “Where did you get that?” So here’s a family that took the opportunity to use their own situation to help others. Jansen’s mom simply asked that we find a good home for them, seeking no acknowledgment or anything in return. This family has also donated other equipment such as Jansen’s stander and gait trainer for others to use. What a great example of paying it forward.
Jansen’s family truly defines what we at the Cerebral Palsy Center have hoped for: that their appointment is not just a doctor’s visit, but the chance to become part of a network and a community. We can give advice, information and consultation, and while perhaps there’s a level of expertise we may have, we haven’t lived the day in and day out taking care of a child with special needs. That’s a well-needed and invaluable perspective.
Jansen, though living with special needs, is a bright little guy with the coolest sense of humor. Once when at a Botox treatment, Jansen brought his Spiderman figurine to help him be strong for his series of shots. As a huge superhero fan, Jansen showed us powers of his own, bravely taking on the shots without any fear. Afterwards, when asked if it hurt, he stoically replied, “I’m Spiderman, of course it didn’t hurt!” Only Jansen…he’s a one of a kind kid.