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To The Parents That Took Care Of Us, Now It’s Time We Take Care Of You

Growing up, it was our parents who were our superheroes.

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Growing up, it was our parents who were our superheroes. With every scraped knee, tummy ache, or broken toy, we turned to them for help, and they never turned away.

When we were sad, they’d comfort us. When we had a problem, they’d solve it. It seemed like they knew how to fix everything, because even when they didn’t, they’d somehow figure it out, because they knew they had to for us.

As a child, I never imagined the day that the roles would be reversed, until not that long ago, when I realized that I had never sat alone waiting in a doctor’s office. More importantly, I remembered who was always sitting there right beside me — my parents — the same two people who were now getting older and were shifting before my eyes from caretakers to those who needed to be taken care of.

It was watching my father get pricked, poked, and prodded with needle after needle, and test after test, to try to repair his heart that ended up breaking mine. And, while I was happy that my mother finally decided to quit smoking after 30 years, I knew that she had done so in fear of her health, and just as she did, I too worried in silence that the damage had already been done.

Looking around me, it became evident that I wasn’t the only one in this seemingly sinking ship. My best friends were all in the same boat, with each of their parents appearing to almost be in worse shape than the next.

I watched my friend’s father — the same man who was so active and full of life when he coached our middle school’s soccer and softball teams — lose his ability to walk at just 53 years old.

But, what might have even been worse, was seeing my friend so helpless. I was by her side during the sleepless nights where she sobbed wishing that she could trade places with her father, giving him the function of her legs, and I was there as both of their faces lit up when she found the next best thing.

For someone who was ashamed of being bound to a wheelchair, the KD Smart Chair was her father’s saving grace. Just like us, this wheelchair was the product of a man who witnessed the dramatic shift of health and well-being first hand, as his father owned and operated a medical rehabilitation center.

“I recognized that not only was there a dramatic need for a change in the options available within this arena [those with disabilities], but more importantly there was an urgent call to alter the stigma of being impaired,” explained KD Smart Chair creator, Roland Reznik. “I set out to create a device that not only offered freedom in mobility, but one that lifted self-esteem and gifted control and a sense of normalcy.”

Thankfully, it was this wheelchair that helped my friend’s father get back out into the world. But more importantly, it was through all of this that I learned the biggest lesson for anyone with a loved one going through a tough time — even when things are out of your hands, just make sure you’re there to hold theirs.

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