My Donations to Make a Difference Were Delayed, but Not Forgotten

There's comfort in knowing that orthotics and a walker will be put to good use

Sabrina L. Johnson avatar

by Sabrina L. Johnson |

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Donations can be a huge help to families. And did you know that you can donate used medical equipment?

Right before the new year, my box fills up with emails from organizations doing their final pitch for last-minute donations. Most ask for money, but donations come in all forms.

Before my daughter Juliana, who has Angelman syndrome, began walking, she wore orthotics — medical supports for the foot, ankle, or leg. Juliana also used a large walker to support her weight and help her get around.

Both pieces of equipment were lifesavers for us. When we didn’t need the walker anymore, I stored it in our attic. We also had a small collection of orthotics because she got a new pair each year.

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This photo shows two ankle-support pieces a light brown placemat on a brown table. The supports have purple straps and are white with red and green shapes.

Juliana’s ankle and supramalleolar orthotics gave her support when she began standing. (Photo by Sabrina L. Johnson)

I wasn’t sure what to do with these items as time passed, but I kept them in hopes of giving them to another Angel or a special-needs toddler.

Life moved on, but I didn’t forget about the medical supplies.

Sometimes, I feel that my pace of achievement is slower than most people I know. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As Juliana lives with Angelman syndrome, I face daily challenges that the average person won’t face. But even with that lifestyle, I usually get important tasks finished.

Getting it done

I manage these accomplishments by leaning into my altered timeline. It’s taken a lot of years to donate Juliana’s walker, but I finally did it this past August.

During the summer of 2021, I took the initiative to find a contact about the donation. Then time got away from me. When school started, I had to put my efforts on hold.

This past summer, I was determined to make the donation happen. After a few phone calls, I found the right organization that would take used medical equipment, and I scheduled a day to drop off the walker. The phone call also yielded a contact for a group that would accept Juliana’s old orthotics. It was a double score.

Dropping off the equipment was bittersweet. It’s hard to face the reality that your child needs medical accessories to function. And then you come to rely upon them and trust their support.

Letting them go felt like saying goodbye to a family member. But it was a celebratory farewell because the equipment will support and enable another child to walk.

This photo shows a girl wearing a one-piece navy blue outfit with shoulder straps and shorts as she sits on a colorful rug of letters. Her arm is around a walker. In the background are beige carpet, what appear to be closet doors, and part of a wooden cabinet of some sort.

Saying goodbye: Juliana sits next to the walker that supported her before she could walk. (Photo by Sabrina L. Johnson)

It took more time to pull it off, but I’m pleased that my donation will make a difference.

Note: Angelman Syndrome News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Angelman Syndrome News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Angelman syndrome.


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