Monday, April 18, 2011

The True Difference Tax Dollars Make

In honor of Tax Day, FV Indiana shares our member's stories about the benefits of tax supported services:
When I hear people grumble about the amount of taxes they have to pay or the number of "deadbeats" abusing the system I wish they could meet my children and understand the true difference those tax dollars make in the lives of many. I have two children, Joe is 7 yrs old and Mikayla is 8 months old. Joseph was born with a rare brain disorder called Schizencephaly. There is no known cause for the disorder. It has affected his development and health significantly. But don't let the fact that he is in a wheelchair or can't speak deceive you into thinking he isn't "normal". Like many other 7yr old boys he loves trucks and bugs and guitars. He is very social and wants nothing more than to be part of the group. Throughout his life Joseph has received help from various programs that are paid for by tax dollars. He has been able to receive the supports he needs in school so that he can be a meaningful part of the class and receive an education just as his peers do. He has been able to receive the proper nutrition and maintain safe eating practices. He has been able to receive therapies that not only encourage development but also reduce injury to his bones and muscles that be can very painful and dehabilitating. He has been able to receive life saving medicines and medical interventions. There is no way to measure how much of an impact that all of these things have made and continue to make in his life.

Mikayla was born prematurely and weighed only 1lb 15oz at birth. She spent the first 49 days of her life in NICU. During her stay it was discovered that she had suffered a stroke in utero leaving her with a brain injury. Again, the doctors have no idea why this happened. We as a family know all to well what this can mean but we also know that there is no way to know how it will affect her until she gets older. Just four months ago she had her first seizure and during her last assessment she tested at the development level of a three month old. She receives services from First Steps which is also paid for by tax dollars. She enjoys her therapists and in the few short months that they have been working with her we have seen her begin to make strides. Just last week she began rolling from her side to back! We are hopeful for Mikayla's future but it will take more work and dedication on all of our parts.

I have always said that all any parent wants for their child is that they grow up to be healthy, happy, independent adults. I am no different. I want those things just as much as anyone else. The only difference is that in the case of my children I need a little more help to make that happen. And that help comes from your tax dollars. So next time you start to feel frustrated at the amount of taxes you pay know that I am thankful. I am thankful every time I go to the pharmacy, or have a therapy session, or sit in a hospital room with my child. I am thankful that people like you exist so that my children can exist. I am most thankful those times that I look into their eyes and they give me one of those most amazing smiles that melts my heart every time.

Heather Dane

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