A furry, white dog held tightly onto Nolan as they raced to home plate. It had been a hot day on the sandlot, but Nolan’s determined stride hadn’t faltered with his service dog, Nerys, right by his side. Nolan’s mom, Laura, shared their story about how Nolan and Nerys’ special bond was made possible with the support of Mason nonprofit organization Building Blocks For Kids (BB4K).
After being diagnosed with a rare form of Epilepsy, Nolan and his family’s journey was filled with uncertainty and many unanswered questions. But they soon realized that Nolan’s future depended on more than a scientific explanation. Nolan needed a supportive community and financial stability. The support of the community around Nolan’s family, as well as the support of Building Blocks for Kids, has brought endless love to Nolan and his family. BB4K was able to provide a generous $2,000 grant that completed a large $17,000 fundraising goal for Nolan’s service dog, Nerys.
Playing a large role in Nolan’s life–comparable to that of a guardian–Nerys is a gift that may not have been a financial possibility if not for BB4K. As a child diagnosed with Epilepsy with Continuous Spike during Slow Wave Sleep, Nolan is kept safe by his seizure-sensing service dog all day and all night.
Dynette Clark, CEO of BB4K, traces the origins of the organization back to a four-year-old girl named Sydni. After being one of the youngest and smallest children to receive a liver transplant at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in the late 1990s, Sydni’s parents were determined to help her live a bright future despite the repercussions of the transplant. Although technically successful, the delay in diagnosing the liver problem resulted in severe brain damage and a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy. The only way to a better future was therapy–one that insurance wouldn’t cover.
While money was being raised to help Sydni, the founders of BB4K noticed that many other necessities in the special needs community were going unfulfilled: hearing & communication devices, medical equipment, home modifications and more. Recognizing the family’s difficulties, the founders created BB4K to financially and emotionally support, celebrate, and provide for children with extra needs.
“BB4K provides immediate help to families, trying to give their child with extra challenges every opportunity to reach their full potential,” says Dynette.
BB4K’s responses to families’ needs have brought joy to so many, including three-year-old Ruby who was diagnosed with a balance disorder called Ataxia. After receiving a Meerkat Stander from BB4K, Ruby’s quality of life improved immensely. She has been able to practice standing upright for four months, increasing her upper-body strength and decreasing her chances of needing surgery.
The Meerkat Stander also brings Ruby the childhood fun we’ve all experienced while helping mom bake banana bread or playing in a warm bubble bath. Now, after four months of hard work, Ruby’s family and friends are so proud of all she has accomplished.
BB4K’s efforts continue to support families like Nolan’s and Ruby’s to help reduce the endlessly piling stack of medical bills. Alongside their thoughtful financial contributions, BB4K also provides families with an inclusive community.
“BB4K has a family Facebook page that really helps provide us with a community. Families are always willing to donate things once their kids are done with them, and Dynette is always looking out for the families,” says Laura.
Nolan’s mother also emphasized that in a world so large, all they need is a little community awareness to feel supported.
“Most people don’t understand unless they are going through it themselves. It’s nice to have that camaraderie because when you have a kid with extra needs ...there's a lot of things you need to think about financially...a lot of things that many people don’t need to worry about on a daily basis.”
To continue their mission to fund needs and improve lives, BB4K is hosting their Annual Benefit on March 6th at the Manor House in Mason. It will be a fun-filled evening of live music by 3 Piece Revival, live and silent auctions, blackjack, dancing and games.
Every day, the list of families who are positively impacted by Building Blocks For Kids grows as they continue to provide families with their invaluable love, care and support.
Building Blocks For Kids
7577 Central Parke Blvd #224, Mason
Sidebar: Building Blocks For Kids currently helps 50-80 families per year within a 120-mile radius of Cincinnati.