2022 Volleyball Ambassador Stella Rummel-Ashlock
|2022 Volleyball Ambassador Stella Rummel-Ashlock (01/20/2022)|
The Girl Who Lived Thrives With Easterseals
Three tiny squeaks let them know she was alive. That is how Stella Rummel-Ashlock, who was once predicted to never live past birth,
announced her arrival into this world. Now, she is a beautiful, capable and thriving three-year-old girl headed to preschool thanks to
her indomitable spirit and the help of Easterseals Children’s Therapy services.
“We were blindsided by Stella’s diagnoses,” says her mom, Kim Rummel-Ashlock. “We felt so helpless and alone. Nobody believed
she would make it. We felt hopeless but at the same time wanted to hold onto to any hope we could see. We were supposed to be
preparing a nursery and instead we were making final arrangements.”
After an emotional roller coaster during pregnancy Kim and her husband, Lee, heard those three little squeaks in the delivery room
that let them know she was alive. She then spent 88 days in the NICU before her parents and older sister welcomed her home.
Stella’s journey towards independence was just beginning as she began therapy with Easterseals.
“Easterseals is amazing. The therapists became like family,” Kim says. “They made life more enjoyable since they helped us feel
more confident. I had no clue before Stella, but I cannot emphasize early intervention enough. Start therapy as soon as your child
is born or they are able to participate. If we would have waited, we would have lost so much time.”
While in the NICU, Stella was connected to so many wires that all her parents could do was hold her. However, once she arrived
home Kim got her started with speech, occupational, and physical therapies to help Stella not just live, but blossom. At first, Stella
was unable to lift her head, suck on a bottle, sit up, and use her left side. Kim says, “she missed all her milestones, except her attitude.
She is right on track with her attitude.”
Easterseals therapists helped Stella meet her milestones, taught Kim and Lee the exercises so they could help Stella while they were
not there and suggested equipment that would help Stella meet her goals. Stella is now able to walk with assistance, assemble puzzles,
color and tolerate different textures, which is something she struggled with because of the feeding tube she had when she was born.
“Easterseals helped us think outside of the box. The journey may feel lonely but there are people and programs like Easterseals that can
help,” Kim says. “Keep in mind baby steps. It’s not the timeline that matters, even if they are making small steps it’s a win. Easterseals
helps you realize that. Take those wisps of baby steps as the huge wins they are. Stella may not do things in the same way as other kids
but in the end it is the same result. She went from a baby who could not hold her head up at one and now is walking with assistance all
thanks to Easterseals therapies.”
A trusted provider of children’s therapy services for more than 65 years, Easterseals Delaware & Maryland’s Eastern Shore specializes
in treating children ages birth through eighteen years with a variety of challenges, including developmental delay, Autism Spectrum Disorders,
Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, speech and language delay, feeding and swallowing difficulties and others. Therapy services are provided
for children in the home, at daycare centers, or through center-based play groups.
Easterseals Delaware & Maryland’s Eastern Shore offers a range of services, including children’s therapies, assistive technology, recreational
camping, day programs for adults with physical or intellectual disabilities, and respite services for caregivers. To learn more about how
Easterseals helps children and adults with disabilities, call 1-800-677-3800 or visit www.de.easterseals.com.
Stella is making big strides towards meeting her milestones with the help of Easterseals therapist.
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