Ella received an invitation in the mail for a birthday party. The parents called earlier in the week asking us if a dance party would be something Ella could participate in. We told them that she would be able to participate if one of us goes along. They said that’s great and asked if we could help carpool some kids. We obliged.
The morning was a rainy one. Rain was beating down on the snow on the ground, making it all melt. The streets and sidewalks were soaked with water. Ella drove her power wheelchair out of the house and down the ramp in the garage, and waited under the overhang for me to open our rear-accessible van. She expertly drove up the car ramp, and I secured her in the car with tie-downs. I placed her little manual wheelchair (a mere 7 pounds) behind her power chair and secured the back lift. The passenger seat was holding a booster seat ready for Ella to use in the second row when her friends joined her in our carpool.
We drove the five blocks to the house where everyone planned to meet. We decided which kids would go with which car and loaded them in respectively. Our car had two kids coming with us: the birthday girl and a friend and classmate of Ella’s. I grabbed the booster seat from the front passenger seat and had the two girls jump into the middle row. They slid over as far as they could go, buckled their seat belts, and waited for me to secure Ella in her booster seat. Everyone was ready to go.
We were on our way to a fitness center about 40 minutes from us. The girls played car games the entire way there. Laughter, silliness, and good, old-fashioned fun were being had by all.
When we arrived at the fitness center, I put Ella in her power wheelchair and pushed the little manual wheelchair into the center. We found the room on the second floor where the goodies would be served, and Ella was able to drive right up to the table. The kids were waiting for the dance instructors to arrive, and we decided to give them their little ice cream cups while they waited. Finally, the dancer arrived and the kids were ready to start their routines.
The dance studio was on the first floor, so we entered the elevator and some of Ella’s friends came with us. When we got to the first floor, we found the rest of the kids and followed them into the dance studio. There, I transferred Ella from her power chair to her little manual chair.
The hosts hired four high school girls who were state champions in dance. They also hired their coach. The team taught them one dance routine and a dance game to play. The dance routine had many moves, and all the kids picked them up pretty easily, including Ella. She moved her wheelchair, spun her wheelchair, and leaned forward onto her wheelchair. She waved her arms and tapped her feet. She enjoyed herself tremendously.
After the dancing and games were finished, I transferred Ella into her power chair, and she and the kids once again went upstairs and enjoyed cupcakes and the “Happy Birthday” song. They made a mess, laughed, and were being silly the entire time.
It is so nice of people to check with us first before planning a party to make sure that Ella can participate. It brings such joy to Ella to be with her friends and classmates at a celebration. On the way home, the girls talked about all the dancing they did and then settled down to a movie in the car. A good time was had by all.
Note: SMA News Today 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 SMA News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.
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