Fundraising campaign aims to help children with disabilities in central Indiana suffering through pandemic

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Disability rights leaders are asking for help supporting families of people with disabilities in central Indiana.

Thursday marks the International Day of Persons with Disabilities and closer to home the organization Easterseals Crossroads is launching a fundraising campaign called “Stronger Together” to help inclusion efforts that have taken a hit due to the pandemic.

Indianapolis mom Allison Heinekamp knows first hand how important Easterseals Crossroads is to the community. Heinekamp adopted her little boy, Theo, from China when he was 3-years-old.

“Theo was born with a cleft palate which affected his speech and his hearing. About a year after we brought him home, we noticed a tube fell out of his ear,” said Heinekamp.

Theo soon underwent multiple surgeries and started speech therapy.

Things were going well, until therapy was disrupted when schools went virtual because of the pandemic.

“I could see him falling behind, he was was regressing and I had knew Easterseals Crossroads could step in,” Heinekamp added.

The family turned to the organization for help and consistency and says they’re thankful for the support during a time that’s been so difficult for all kids, but especially kids with disabilities.

“To equip people with disabilities to be more independent, to be able to advocate for themselves, to be contributing members to society and I think, as parents, that’s what we want for our kids,” said Heinekamp.

CEO of Eaterseals Crossroads David Dreith says funds will help fund services and programs for the 88,000 people they help from children to homeless veterans.

“When we say Stronger Together we don’t just mean the community coming together to support people with disabilities. We mean our community is stronger when it includes everyone,” said Dreith.

The organization hopes to raise $120,000 by the end of the year, which as of Wednesday was at $30,000.

To donate or learn more about Easterseals Crossroads, click here.