Devon has the ability to light up an entire room with her bright smile, she radiates happiness when she interacts with people. Devon has continuously conquered life’s challenges, and certainly is not the person that doctors expected years ago. When she was two years old, Devon was in a drowning accident. She lost all signs of life for 47 minutes and at minute 48, as her mother Linda says, “she was sent back to earth.” Devon survived the accident but was not out of the woods – she was hospitalized for three months with a primary diagnosis of profound brain injury due to oxygen deprivation.
Doctors and nurses at the hospital told Linda, and her husband Gary, that they would not be able to bring Devon home. They believed that her level of disability was too high and it would be a strain on the family. “I knew in my heart we could take care of our daughter, even if no one else thought we could,” Linda said. The closest long-term care locations were hours away from home, and in Linda and Gary’s eyes, not a realistic option for their toddler. “Everyone told me that bringing Devon home would ruin my marriage and the life of my then four-year-old son, Gary Jr.” Linda said. “Well, it’s almost 30 years later and God has proved them wrong. We’ll celebrate 35 years of marriage next month and our son is happily married with a daughter of his own.”
These days Linda has Devon’s care down to a science, but it wasn’t always an easy journey. Since the accident, Devon has been in a wheelchair, takes daily medications keep her seizures under control and uses a gastrostomy tube (g-tube), to eat. Her only voluntary movement is her ability to smile.
Linda credits her family’s continued strength, especially through difficult times, to their faith. Saturdays are special days for Linda and Devon, they usually spend the day doing manicures, getting haircuts and watching some of Devon’s favorite television shows. “Devon is a joy,” Linda said, “we love our special girl time.”
During the week, Devon is a participant at ServiceSource’s Long Term Community Integration Center (LTCIC) in Chantilly, Virginia. At the LTCIC, Devon receives the intensive care she needs, she requires re-positioning at least 3 times a day by her aids. She enjoys listening to music and when others sing to her or read her stories. Devon adores music therapy and dance therapy, one of her favorite activities is experiencing the lights in the sensory room and receiving support to change the colors of the lights.
“I’m convinced that ServiceSource does a great job. You can tell the staff truly cares for Devon and, as a mother, that is reassuring,” Linda says.