Grayson Smiling Steps Toward Independence
Grayson Steps Toward Independence

Meet Grayson! Grayson’s family adopted him when he was born in 2011. He was experiencing some challenges with eating, so he spent about four weeks in the hospital before his family could bring him home.

“He was a tiny guy and didn’t really grow very fast,” says Dianne, Grayson’s mom. “By his first birthday, he was starting to miss some significant developmental milestones.”

At 13 months old, Grayson was admitted to the hospital again. He was having trouble breathing and had to be put on a ventilator. “He was a very sick little boy, but nobody could seem to figure out why,” Dianne says. After several weeks in the hospital, Grayson finally started to show some improvement, so the doctors began to wean him off the ventilator. On the day they planned to remove the ventilator, Grayson’s airway collapsed and his heart stopped. Thankfully, the Pediatric Intensive Care team went into action and got him back.

Grayson’s family decided to move him to the UNC Children’s Hospital so that he could receive more specialized care. Grayson had surgery a week after he was transferred. A few weeks after the surgery, Grayson’s family was able to bring him home to continue his recovery.

Grayson as a baby smiling

Over the next several years, Grayson received different diagnoses including cerebral palsy, developmental delay, chronic respiratory failure, epilepsy and cyclic vomiting syndrome. He had an airway reconstruction surgery and numerous orthopedic surgeries to attempt to relieve his stiff muscles and joints.

In 2019, Grayson underwent a monumental orthopedic surgery for his hips. However, he was confronted with yet another obstacle the day after the surgery. He had another respiratory event that landed him back in the hospital on a ventilator. It took Grayson a while to improve, but he eventually returned home again with his family.

Grayson worked with his home health nurse and physical trainer to regain strength and get back on his feet. In 2020, he began using a gait trainer, an assistive device similar to a walker. He took his first steps without any assistance, something he couldn’t do previously in several years!

Grayson and family smiling“We have always said that quality of life is more important than quantity of life,” Dianne says. Grayson’s family believed that he deserved more independence when they were out and about, but the gait trainer was too big for their car. Grayson’s family needed a smaller walker for shorter distances but the insurance company denied their request. Dianne decided to reach out to Easterseals UCP for assistance. Within days, the request was approved and Grayson received the walker!

“To allow Grayson the freedom to walk where he wants to gives us such joy,” Dianne says. “We see where he wants to explore. We are forever thankful for Easterseals UCP and the newfound independence that Grayson has when we are out and about!”

Easterseals UCP is thrilled to see Grayson enjoying his new walker. Our assistive technology and resources help individuals with disabilities live their best life. When all other funding has been exhausted or is unavailable, our special assistance assistive funding may be available to help.

Easterseals UCP is a trusted, compassionate partner providing exceptional disability and behavioral health services to help our neighbors live their best lives. Purpose, dedication and empathy drive our service delivery. Its diverse and inclusive 2,300-member team provides more than 9 million hours of meaningful support to 22,000 kids, adults and families in 11,000 home and community locations. Learn more at