Advocating for children with special needs
Brittney Royale (senior associate; Schaumburg)
Brittney is one of RSM’s 2019 Pursue Your Passion Winners, each of whom were awarded $10,000 to pursue one of their personal passions. You can read her winning submission here, and read her story below.
Through RSM’s Pursue Your Passion program, I was given the opportunity to have many rewarding experiences. I chose to spend my nine paid days off volunteering for organizations that benefit children. Some of the places that I (as well as my family and husband) volunteered included Feed My Starving Children (multiples dates in June, July and August); The Children's Advocacy Center 5k Run for the Children in June 22; and Scheck & Siress Prosthetics, Inc.
The experience that was most special to me was my visit to Scheck & Siress in late July. I was able to spend the day sitting in on several children’s appointments, seeing first-hand how limb differences have affected their lives and how they are growing up and learning to thrive despite their differences. I was also able to take a tour of the facility and see where and how the prosthetics are made, and shaped uniquely for each individual.
One of the children I was lucky enough to meet was a seven-year-old girl named Jada, who was born with a slow-growing lower leg bone. No matter how tall she gets, one of her legs will always be shorter than the other, requiring her to have a prosthetic under her foot to elongate her leg so she can walk. She is at an age where she is growing constantly, and has to come to the doctor every few months to level out her prosthesis. During her most recent doctor visit, the doctor measured how much she has grown to see how the prosthetic would need to be modified. I was then able to watch the technicians elongate her prosthetic to be in line with her new height. It was wonderful to see that even with her prosthetic off, Jada was a happy, normal seven-year-old climbing on furniture and doing cartwheels around the office as she waited for her prosthetic to be managed. Jada’s mother's insurance had a high deductible, and I was told that my contribution might be used toward her future visits.
Being able to meet the young lady I was able to support was an awesome feeling! Between patient visits, I was able to talk with many of the workers who have dedicated their lives to helping children such as Jada. To my surprise, none of them had ever known anyone personally who used a prosthetic. The majority of prosthesis users are those who have lost limbs to either diabetes or accidents. It’s actually uncommon to be born needing prosthetics. And to see a patient with an upper limb deficiency like my nephew, is even more uncommon, as those with upper limb deficiencies often choose to live without the prosthesis.
At the end of my day, I was able to make my donation to the company. To my surprise, this was the first financial donation they had received. It seems that many people support organizations focused on cancer and more commonly known medical conditions. And while those organizations are certainly worthy, it sometimes means that organizations focused on conditions that aren't as commonly known or publicized miss out on donations.
I am so thrilled and honored to have been able to see first-hand where my donation went and even meet a family who might benefit from it. This was truly an amazing experience and I’m grateful to RSM for giving me the opportunity to make a positive difference in people’s lives through the firm's Pursue Your Passion program!