Allahna Ritter is the 2018 Youth Ambassador. She joins in on UCP-WCW events and represents our organization all over the 12 counties we serve. She has quite a contagious laugh and is a fabulous ambassador. You can find Allahna at our upcoming events: Hole in One competition August 22-26th and the Harley Raffle drawing on September 8th (her last event as ambassador).
Here is a story about Allahna and her family's Journey:
Allahna is our miracle fighter. She had a tough start to life, being born prematurely then suffering a grade 2 brain bleed. That lead to the diagnosis of spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy shortly before she turned a year old. Allahna entered my life at the sweet age of 2.5 years old. Her sparkling eyes and bright smile captured my heart and has never let go. She still lights up a room at age 8!
Allahna's life isn't easy, she has to work three times as hard to do simple activities, even when they are modified for her. Seeing your child struggle breaks a mother's heart, but seeing your child be so resilient brings unimaginable joy. Allahna has taught me that it's the small things in life that mean the most. Taking her first independent steps with the help of a gait trainer at age 3; saying "I love you" with a communication device at age 6; watching your child play an organized sport with peers for the first time at age 8 (Miracle League baseball). Even playing a simple game of go fish takes extra time and modification. We take NOTHING for granted in our home.
Recently I was asked what the connection was between UCP and my daughters life and why is it so important. Our local UCP has helped our family personally with equipment from their lending library and helped coordinate respite for Allahna. UCP also stands as a resource guide in multiple areas such as education, employment, travel, health and assistive technology for those with disabilities.
My life is very different then I had originally planned. Being a special needs Mom was not something I had expected to become and I was very scared to embrace. I took that leap because my faith is strong and boy, my life is better then I had ever imagined! Material things don't matter in my life anymore, it's the love and experiences we share as a family. Allahna, my cp fighter, I love you.
Michelle M. Ritter