It Takes a Village

Sam Weir, 4, is lucky to have such a great team cheering him on. His grandmother, Delisa Rader, makes sure Sam gets to school at United Cerebral Palsy of Arkansas through the week, and her son, Cody Weir, cares for him on weekends. Sam has made fantastic progress and continues to amaze his team daily.

By Amy Gordy

Sam Weir and Delissa Radner

DELISA RADER: One son, Cody Weir, age 27.

WHAT IS YOUR PROFESSION? I am an executive secretary in the corporate office at Baptist Health.

WHAT IS YOUR DAY-TO-DAY LIKE? We have Sam on a routine that works well for him, my husband and myself. We start each day at the same time with Sam watching a few minutes of HGTV, then we are headed off to work and school. Dinner and bath time are at the same time each evening, which works very well for Sam. He has about 30 minutes to an hour in the evening for play/TV time.

YOUR GRANDSON WAS DIAGNOSED WITH CEREBRAL PALSY. WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO GET HIS DIAGNOSIS? Heartbreaking. My son called me from the hospital and shared the news with me. I was driving at the time and had to pull over. My son never cries, and hearing the pain in his voice was devastating. 

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER FAMILIES WHO RECEIVE A SIMILAR DIAGNOSIS FOR A CHILD? Know that there are schools and facilities that specialize in these situations. Schools like United Cerebral Palsy of Arkansas are essential to help reach obstacles that were thought unreachable.

DESCRIBE THE CARE AND SUPPORT YOU HAVE RECEIVED AT UNITED CEREBRAL PALSY OF ARKANSAS. HOW HAVE THEY BEEN ESSENTIAL TO YOUR CHILD’S PROGRESS? UCP has been a huge factor in Sam’s life. Sam has been attending UCP since he was an infant, and they all love him and he knows it. We never knew if Sam would be able to walk, but with therapy provided by UCP, he can walk and run! Granted, he still needs a spotter to be nearby, but it’s still such a blessing. Sam receives speech, occupational and physical therapy weekly, and is so proud of each goal he reaches. Sam isn’t able to speak very well—yet—but he could someday. He is very bright, he knows his ABCs, can count and operate an iPhone like nobody’s business.

WHAT IS YOUR SUPPORT SYSTEM LIKE? We are more like a team. Sam is with me through the week, and with his parents on the weekend. With all of our schedules and our different addresses, it works great for all of us and most importantly, Sam.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT BEING A MOM? Sam knows me as “MeeMaw,” and it’s the greatest thing ever. He signs to tell me he loves me, and anything else he wants us to know.

WHAT MAKES YOUR CHILD AMAZING? Sam is truly a special child. He is a gift from God. He is so happy, he knows he is loved and he brings such joy to everyone who spends time with him.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO AS A FAMILY? The workweek is pretty routine, but Sam loves to watch HGTV and is a huge fan of “Fixer Upper” with Chip and Joanna Gaines. We actually sent them a letter with a picture of Sam standing next to a photo of them. They wrote Sam back and signed his picture. I have the card and signed photo in Sam’s room in a frame. He shows anyone who hasn’t seen it before. On the weekends he spends time at the farm with his dad, and loves riding the tractor and helping his dad herd cattle. The one word that Sam can say very clearly is “Momma.” He loves his mom and sister, Lexy, with all his heart. He also loves his grandparents and greatgrandmother who adore him.

WHAT DO YOU WANT READERS TO TAKE AWAY FROM YOUR STORY? To know that there are places like UCP for your child or grandchild with cerebral palsy or other issues. I truly believe that in addition to the therapy and teachers at UCP, the love and commitment of family are the key ingredients to any child’s success.

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