LIST Birmingham April 2019

APRIL 2019

MELVIN’ S MONTHLY MOMENTS

205-223-6192 WWW.MELVIN.LISTBIRMINGHAM.COM

NOT OUT OF SIGHT, NOT OUT OF MIND

The Miracles at the Caring Hands of the Bell Center

In a perfect world, no child struggling with disabilities would feel alone. The Bell Center intends to realize such a world by helping one kid at a time with a specialized treatment plan to better suit their specific needs. That’s why Jill and I were so honored to be involved in the Service Guild’s gala benefiting The Bell Center this year in support of our good friend Anne Martha Corley and her wonderful little girl, Ella Rose. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing her grow into a blossoming young girl through the assistance of this wonderful group. The Bell Center jumps at the chance to provide early intervention to children who are at risk for developmental delay with or without any diagnosis, including children with Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, prematurity, and a variety of other genetic conditions. The Bell Center’s highly qualified staff members develop and implement physical, occupational, and speech/language therapies as well as special education services, developmental nursing, and nutritional counseling for children. Each year, they provide services to more than 100 children, from infants to 3-year-olds, in the Birmingham and central Alabama area. Some families travel up to two hours one way. From the moment a family enters the program, The Bell Center teamwalks with them hand-in-hand to see them through to their best possible lives, with smiles, laughs, and tender care along the way. It’s truly a cause to be proud of. Anne Martha’s youngest daughter, Ella Rose, was left visually impaired at only 7 months old after she suffered a terrible infection resulting in substantial damage to her occipital lobe. She went from a typical, rambunctious little girl to not even being able to properly roll over on her own. You wouldn’t be able to tell today just how grim things appeared back then. It was a long road to any kind of “normal” life for innocent little Ella Rose. She went through intensive therapy to learn to move, crawl, and eventually walk. At 15 months old and after much debate, her mother slowly realized that social interaction could do her a lot of good. That’s when she found out about The Bell Center, where a staff of professionals were able guide her in a recovery that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. At the suggestion of her mother-in-law, Anne Martha calledThe Bell Center and ex- plained her daughter’s situation to them. They jumped at the chance to offer her an eval- uation. After coming to understand the uniqueness of Ella Rose’s challenges, they dove in headfirst and began the process of acceptance and encouragement that helped Anne Martha’s family through those difficult formative years. When Ella Rose was 18 months old, she began her time at The Bell Center, and her previous fear of the bleak unknown that accompanied her near-blindness was immediately washed away in the reassurance and careful support of her specialized teachers, therapists, and volunteer caretakers.

It was here that she learned to acclimate. It was here that she learned to sing and eat snacks and socialize with her newfound friends. It was here that she began to learn to laugh and interact with her world again. Those aren’t easy skills to teach. She did so well that the next year in her programs, she moved on to a new class, finally graduating from The Bell Center in 2016, having been taken from a place of fear and uncertainty to a place of comfort and confidence. The important thing to keep in mind here is that, although it is astounding, Ella Rose’s story is not wholly unique. The Bell Center treats a variety of disabilities and challenges, all with love and care in their hearts. That’s why they need our help. Since 1984, they have offered programs to help children develop and grow to be their very best, and we’re beyond happy to have been able to take part in their yearly fundraising gala event on March 16. If fundraising isn’t up your alley, don’t fret. You can always dedicate your time or prayers to the organization’s continued success. We know we will do a little bit of all of those things. Jill and I cherish our community and want nothing but the best for its citizens, from young to old. So, next time you need help with any part of the real estate process, you know where to find us. For further information about how you can help out with their special programs or services, feel free to contact The Bell Center anytime at info@thebellcenter.org, 205-879-3417, or TheBellCenter.org.

-Melvin Upchurch

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