BLUFFTON, S.C. (WTOC) - The coronavirus pandemic has helped bring out the best in some people. We’ve seen stories everyday of neighbors helping and giving in their community.
One Bluffton woman saw that first hand Thursday.
When in need of a pick me up, Kasey Rodgers doesn’t have to look far: her son Jay.
“He’s always laughing. Always happy," she says. "Just a very happy kid, and his laugh always makes me smile.”
You wouldn’t know it by the smiling pictures, but life hasn’t been easy for Jay. He was born with congenital cytomegalovirus, or CMV. The virus caused Jay to have sight and hearing issues and cerebral palsy, making it difficult for Jay to move like all toddlers want to do.
“My biggest worry for him is I don’t want him to be different where at recess he can’t play with other kids," Kasey says. ”I want him to be able to walk, run, and do things, and explore the world like other people do.”
Jay’s been going to therapy since he was about three months old, and Kasey says the progress has been incredible. Tasks like opening and closing his hands, once nearly impossible for Jay, he now does easily.
“I’m prouder than I ever thought I could be," Kasey smiles. "It shows how hard he works and how much he wants to do those things.”
Therapists are now recommending a gait trainer, which would help Jay develop his motor skills and learn to walk. The sooner he gets it, the better.
The only problem, Jay’s health issues make coronavirus an even bigger threat. That’s kept Kasey at home and unable to work.
“I’ve been pretty cautious,” she says. “I haven’t left my apartment except to go to my mom’s in a few months.”
To help, Kasey launched a Go Fund Me page hoping to raise the $1,300 needed. She says it was a difficult thing to do.
“I want to be able to be the one to pay for his gait trainer and be able to provide for him fully to get him everything he needs," Kasey says. "It’s almost a little embarrassing when you have to ask for help.”
Ultimately, Kasey decided she couldn’t risk passing along COVID-19 to Jay and reached out for help.
The community responded, quickly. Kasey launched the page early Thursday afternoon. By Friday morning, the entire $1,300 goal had been met. And then some.
“People really seem to care," she says. "It’s just really touching to know and heartwarming to know that people care that much.”
Kasey hopes to get the gait trainer for Jay by the end of the week. Even with it, this happy boy has a long road ahead of him.
But Kasey says she has no doubt he will take on all his challenges with a smile.
“It amazes me how happy he is with all he’s been through," she says. "He is an incredible, incredible kid.”