Fundraisers are being planned for the family to assist them getting Agnes to a school/hospital facility in Sioux Falls, S.D. Agnes currently sees her doctors in Sioux Falls on a monthly basis and the doctors feel that it would best suit the girl to relocate to the Sioux Falls area.
Currently, donations may be sent to the North Star Community Credit Union in Cherokee in care of the Agnes Martin Fund, 1030 S. 2nd St., Cherokee, Iowa 51012.
"Agnes has been through everything - more than any child should have to go through," her mother Louise said.
According to the family, Agnes was born apparently normal with a heart murmur and a bit of jaundice, but was expected to fully recover from these conditions. At about 15-16 months, she was sleeping in her crib with her father, Steve, asleep nearby.A sound from the crib awoke Steve and he went to check on Agnes. She looked normal and was very still. Steve asked her for his morning smile and he received nothing in return.
"From that day on, she wouldn't smile, laugh, or cry," explained Louise.
Her muscles grew progressively weaker, and she has never been able to speak. Today, she is confined to a wheelchair, connected to a tracheal tube and a feeding tube, and has scoliosis. She has seen numerous specialists, but no conclusive diagnosis of her illness has been made, according to her parents. At one point, they were told to expect their child to die.
The family has never given up hope and recently was rewarded with slight movements of the arms, legs, and head of Agnes.
"It's only once in a while, but she is clearly better than she was before," said Louise. "She can't speak, but we can tell by the noises she is able to make, what she wants."
They hope that physical therapy can help Agnes continue to gain movement and those experts can find a way to "retrain" her brain to increase her learning capacity.
With the doctors Agnes sees located in Sioux Falls, transportation is the biggest hurdle for the family at this time. They would ultimately like to move to Sioux Falls so they can enroll Agnes in the Children's Care Hospital and School. Agnes would live there and attend the school on a daily basis, receiving the physical therapy and other treatments recommended by her doctors.
Supporters of the family have been looking for a wheelchair accessible mini school bus for the family to transport Agnes. The family has been appreciative of those trying to assist them and has also appealed to other associations and foundations for possible assistance.
"Any assistance would be appreciated," said Steve. "We would like to give our daughter the best opportunities that she has to make improvements for her life. She is out little princess"