Sixteen-year-old Heather Lee would like nothing more than to walk around a track her stepfather, Kenneth Gibson, fashioned in their yard for their family to exercise on.
But Heather, a freshman at Neches High School, is now confined to a wheelchair 100 percent of the time because of her debilitating muscular dystrophy.
"She's so depressed," said her mother, Rebecca Gibson. "She just wants to be normal."
Unfortunately, "normal" isn't a way of life for the Gibson family.
Of the five children, three have muscular dystrophy. Eighteen-year-old Matthew Lee has a seizure disorder and mental retardation along with muscular dystrophy, a group of muscle diseases that weaken the musculoskeletal system and impair movement. Muscular dystrophies are characterized by progressive muscle weakness, defects in muscle proteins and the eventual death of muscle tissue.
There is no known cure and no definitive treatment to slow to stop the progression of the disease.
Thirteen-year-old Kathryn Lee also suffers from muscular dystrophy.
The two youngest children are healthy.
Heather's condition has deteriorated rapidly since Thanksgiving 2012, forcing her into a wheelchair full time. The family's home is not equipped with a wheelchair ramp and the family car cannot accommodate either a wheelchair or a wheelchair carrier.
United Access, a company from Garland that offers wheelchair accessible vans and vehicle sales, service, and rental functions to people with disabilities, has a 2006 Ford van the family is trying to purchase for $24,000 in cash. The van, which can fit Heather's wheelchair, also has removable seats in the likely event Matthew and Kathryn need wheelchairs in the future as well.
Kenneth and Rebecca, who are both disabled themselves, are trying to raise the funds needed to purchase the van.
The family has set up an account at Austin Bank under the account name "Kenneth and Rebecca Gibson Benefit for Heather Lee." If you wish to donate, contact Austin Bank.
- Local News
County sets speed limit on CR 1102
Although a public hearing held Monday by Cherokee County Commissioners didn't attract anyone, the court unanimously voted to set the speed limit along County Road 1102 to 30 miles per hour, said County Judge Chris Davis.
Voting officials explain runoff election process
As Cherokee County residents prepare for a May 27 primary runoff between County Court-at-Law candidates Kelly Peacock and Janice Crosby Stone, election officials are reminding them of voter eligibility.
Country artist Jake Penrod to perform
The life and music of Country’s first superstar comes to life with Jake Penrod in Hank Williams Remembered at 3pm on Saturday, March 8 in the Nacogdoches County Civic Center.
Area women honored by mentoring program for roles in community
A group of adolescent girls honoring local women Thursday at an inaugural recognition program experienced Girl Power in it’s purest form, as honorees discussed how to create a successful future.
“Find something you love and go at it with passion, and don’t let anybody tell you you can’t do it. Ever,” said Janis Gowin.
Chase leads to aggravated robbery arrest
Sgt. Daniel Franklin of the Jacksonville Police Department commended officers Friday on their fast work of capturing an aggravated robbery suspect.
Bullard meningitis vaccines important for young adults
A meningitis vaccine clinic will be held March 20 at Bullard High School for local juniors and seniors needing the shot as part of college entrance requirements.
Commissioners set for Monday meeting
Cherokee County Commissioners will hold a public hearing 10 a.m. Monday on setting the speed limit to 30 miles per hour on County Road 1102, convene in regular session to consider approval of a related motion.
Shirts commemorating 30th annual Tomato Fest on sale now
The Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce Tomato Fest celebrating 30 years of fun so save the date - Saturday, June 14th in downtown Jacksonville.
Jacksonville City Council set to meet
The Jacksonville City Council will meet for its regular session at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 11, at the Norman Center.
Council members will hold a closed executive session at 5 p.m. to discuss economic development negotiations.
Cherokee County arrests: Feb. 25-March 10
The Daily Progress will publish a list of arrests from the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office on a weekly basis.
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- County sets speed limit on CR 1102