NATICK (CBS) - He's a little boy in Natick who needed a hand, so he could play just like any other kid, and a local community group stepped up to do just that. That gift has made all the difference. Which is remarkable when you realize it all has to do with a pink rug.
"I had no idea that something so simple was going to make such a huge difference in our life," says Shannon Carlson, the mother of 2-year-old twins Finn and Mack.
The brothers had a tough start. "Mack and Finn were born at 24 weeks, and they've had complex medical needs ever since they were born," says Shannon. Finn has cerebral palsy and is legally blind. "We're at the hospital probably 3 or 4 times a week."
The family used to live in West Brookfield, but doctors told Shannon they needed to be closer to Children's Hospital in Boston in case there was an emergency, so the family moved to a small in-law apartment in Natick, losing money when they sold their original house. Add in medical expenses, and things are tight.
And Finn was having trouble navigating the apartment because he has no depth perception. "He would be sitting and you'd be playing with him and all of a sudden, he'd be on the ground," Shannon says.
A therapist suggested getting a bright colored rug so Finn's toys would stand out, but the family couldn't afford it. That's when Framingham based "Advocates" stepped in with a $200 grant. Not a fortune, but enough for the pink rug and window shades to reduce the sun glare.
It was a game changer. "We put the rug down, he scooted around to every corner of the rug, grabbed all of his toys and raced through the whole rug, back and forth, back and forth," says Shannon.
Advocates makes small grants to help families dealing with disabilities through the Fred Gaspari Fund. "We view ourselves as really being strong partners with families, to lessen the intense stress they have of being caregivers. And this is one small way we're able to do that," says Jeff Kielson, the Senior VP of Advocates.
While we were with the Carlsons we were privileged to observe something special, Finn's first unaided steps. "He is such a miracle. We never thought he was going to be able to do this," says Shannon.
To make a donation to the Fred Gaspari Fund and learn more visit Advocates.org.
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