Perham nine-year-old helped by HOPE program
When the new home of the Bill and Adair Grommesh family was unveiled in Moorhead on Oct. 10 as part of the ABC reality show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," nine-year-old Quenten Schumacher had a front-row seat for the festivities.
Quenten, the son of Curt and Laura Schumacher of Fargo, is one of the many children who have been helped by HOPE, Inc., the charitable organization established by the Grommeshes to help make sports and recreational activities accessible to disabled children.
Quenten, who has cerebral palsy, spends his days in a wheelchair -- but thanks to HOPE, Inc., that doesn't stop him from being active.
"He just loves it," says Quenten's grandmother, Coleen Sundberg, who lives on a farm in rural Perham with her partner, Greg, and mother, Barb Martodam. "He's so excited when he's out there (taking part in HOPE activities)."
"It's a wonderful organization, and those people (the Grommeshes) are just terrific," says Martodam, noting that the Grommeshes make sure the participants in HOPE, Inc., feel that they're "like one big family."
Sundberg and Martodam are helping the Schumacher family to raise funds for HOPE, Inc., to pay for 2010 operating expenses such as equipment, instructors and sites to host their activities.
"It's neat how they get all the kids and their families involved," said Sundberg. "We are elated that there is such a wonderful program available for our kids."
"We have never wanted to say, 'You can't' to Quenten, and because of Hope Inc., we never have to say that. How amazing," said his mother, Laura Sundberg Schumacher, in a press release about the fund-raiser.
Like her grandson, Sundberg also has had a disability for most of her life. She lost her right leg below the knee in a 1975 car accident, when she was just 17.
"I know how important these programs are for kids with disabilities," she said. "We didn't have programs like this around when I was young.
"I'm amazed and so happy that Quenten will be able to participate in things he otherwise couldn't."
Some of the activities that kids like Quenten are able to participate in through HOPE, Inc., include sled hockey, soccer, figure skating and bowling.
Even the coaches, referees and other adult participants in their activities get into the act, Sundberg said.
"They are all asked to be in wheelchairs during the games, whether they're handicapped or not," she said.
Anyone who is interested in donating funds to HOPE, Inc., can send money to Curt and Laura Schumacher, 2939 32nd Ave. S., Fargo, N.D. 58103.
Quenten's new bike
Through the generosity of the people in the Perham community and surrounding area, Quenten now has a new bike that he can ride around town, just like his non-disabled friends, said Sundberg.
A fundraiser held Sept. 29 at the Lakeside Golf Club in Perham raised over $7,500-- more than enough to purchase the special adaptive bicycle, which is not covered by the family's insurance.
The balance of the money raised for the bicycle, which costs just under $4,000, has been placed in a special fund for Quenten's future medical expenses.
One of the things the money will be used for, Sundberg said, is to allow Quenten to participate in a horse riding therapy program for disabled children -- also not covered by medical insurance.
The program is particularly helpful to Quenten, Sundberg explained, because riding astride a horse helps to loosen his leg muscles, making it easier for him to walk.
"When he's done on the horse, he can usually walk about 10 feet without his feet crossing over (a common problem for children with cerebral palsy)," she said.