How Pathfinder Services helped Kammy achieve a childhood dream
All her life, Kammy Updegrove has struggled and overcome challenges. Born with Down syndrome, she accomplished one goal after another, thanks to her own determined spirit, her parents’ dedication and the assistance of Pathfinder Services.
Over the years, Kammy taught herself sign language, traveled, held down various jobs and lived on her own with the help of a social worker. Today, at age 56 and dealing with diminishing abilities due to Alzheimer’s disease, she lives with three other women in a group home operated by Pathfinder Community Supports.
In a moving letter about Kammy posted online, her sister, Kimm Loewen, wrote, “Kammy is a member of an excellent, caring organization called Pathfinder Services in Huntington, Indiana. They basically help take care of all my sister’s needs in correlation with us, her family. Without them, Kammy would not be doing as well as she is.”
In August 2014, Pathfinder Services was also able to help Kammy realize a dream. Though already in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and experiencing short-term memory loss, Kammy still remembered a wish she’d had from years before: to fly in a hot air balloon with her sister.
Kimm reached out to Pathfinder Services and the local community. “I want to make this happen for her while she can still do this physically and for that moment in time remember. It will be a memory for me I will always cherish,” Kimm said.
Dream Fund takes flight
Pathfinder Community Supports raised over $1,000 to help Kammy realize her dream, though only $200 was needed for the high-flying adventure. The extra money was put into a Dream Fund to support the wishes of other Pathfinder clients. As Kimm explained, “The program is not funded but relies on gifts of money or services to grant these wishes.”
On the day of her balloon ride, Kammy was asked if she was excited about finally getting to ride on a hot air balloon with her sister. She responded with an enthusiastic “Yes!” and threw her hands up in the air.
Surrounded by love
In her online letter, Kimm had written of Kammy, “It has been very hard watching her slowly lose capabilities… but Kammy through all this has maintained her wonderful sense of humor, her love for people, especially children, and her appreciation for those who love her.”
Kimm said that every time she and her sister talk on the phone, Kammy always tells Kimm she loves her. “My heart wants to burst with love for her every time she says that,” Kimm said. “My sister has had a huge part in making me the person I am today. She taught me how to be patient, how to care, how to listen, and how to love. How to take pleasure in the simple things in life and how to be thankful for the smallest of accomplishments.”
If you know someone who’d benefit from Pathfinder Services, contact us today. And please consider supporting our work. Your gifts help people like Kammy achieve greater independence and realize their dreams.