Meet Charlie! He’s a 9 year old boy with Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita, or AMC for short. But don’t let that long diagnosis get in the way, Charlie is not defined by his AMC, but I will define AMC for you. AMC is a condition that affects a person’s joints. The joints can have limited movement or be in a fixed position (contractures). AMC is present at birth and occurs 1 in 3,000 live births. AMC is not curable, but it is very treatable! Usually the goal of treatment is to make a person as independent as possible in activities of daily living (ADL’s). ADL’s are those things you do ever day to take care of yourself (eating, dressing, etc). Treatment for arthrogryposis usually involves stretching (to increase joint range of motion), physical therapy to work on overall strength and gross motor skills (walking, standing, climbing stairs) and occupational therapy to work on fine motor and self-help skills (writing, feeding, etc). Some people also need treatments like: serial casting (to help get even more movement from a large joint), bracing (ankle foot orthotics or AFO’s are very common) or even orthopedic surgery (releasing and lengthening tight muscles and tendons, changing what body part a tendon or muscle moves, or even osteotomies to change angle or rotation of a bone). Many times AMC-ers will also use hippo therapy (therapeutic horseback riding), aqua therapy or massage therapy to help keep joints moving.
A service dog will help him do things that he normally has to ask an adult or a peer for help. Our hopes are that the dog will give him more independence than we ever thought possible.
We adopted Charlie from China when he was 4 and a half years old. At that time he was unable to do any ADL’s and walked on his knees due to his knee contractures. But with hours and hours of therapy and surgery performed by a miraculous surgeon - Charlie can now walk independently wearing only his AFO’s. While this is huge, Charlie still needs to use his power wheelchair for long distances, crowded areas or any terrain that isn’t smooth.
Our goal is to always be increasing Charlie’s independence. A service dog will help him do things that he normally has to ask an adult or a peer for help. Our hopes are that the dog will give him more independence than we ever thought possible. We hope that he will someday be able to ditch his power chair and rely on his service dog to help him navigate crowded situations, grab and pick up things for him and possibly prevent Charlie from falling.
We thank you for taking the time to get to know a little bit about Charlie. Donations are very much appreciated. If unable to donate, we also much appreciate shares of his story to others.
You can also mail a check or money order to:
W.A.G.S. 4 Kids, 112 East Center Street, Berea, OH 44017
Please make a memo that your donation is for Charlie