Shani and Kye have been connected with Noah’s Ark for over 10 years, so their graduation ceremony was a huge moment for the family and the charity. Kye has now reached her 19th birthday and will transition to adult services.
Kye’s mum, Shani, takes up the story: “This is a massive milestone to mark. Kye’s had quite a journey and her becoming an adult is not just a different world for us, it’s a new planet. It felt so important to celebrate and it was so touching the way that Noah’s Ark did it, with all of the people there who’ve been part of our journey. I got so emotional!”.
As Shani concedes, it’s rare for a Noah’s Ark child to reach this milestone: “I have to pinch myself that we’ve got this far. But she’s a fighter. Now I’m planning her 21st!”
It was 2009 when the family first encountered Noah’s Ark and our Play Specialist Vikki has been working with the family for several years. Shani credits Noah’s Ark as being instrumental to her and the family: “The charity helped us to move from a ‘healthy kid’ world to this world that we’re now in – but not just to inhabit it; to live it and embrace it. There are so many things that I thought Kye would never do like ice skating or going to the cinema; Noah’s Ark has allowed us to fulfil her dreams.”
Kye always has to shield for six months of the year, throughout the winter, so lockdown has just shown to Shani and others the strength of people like Kye and other Noah’s Ark children: “People could never imagine it before, just being locked down indefinitely. But now they’ve had to walk in her shoes, they realise what it means to be so isolated.”
But it’s not just Kye and Shani who have been helped, it’s the whole family: “Noah’s Ark has given us all strength and confidence. I’ve certainly come out of my shell. It’s also been amazing for Kye’s siblings, who attended Noah’s Ark Siblings Groups. They struggled initially with the unwanted attention they received where Kye was concerned - and the protection they felt towards their baby sister made schooling difficult for them. The Sibling Groups they attended contributed to them accepting their new world. Her siblings are in their twenties now and they’re still friends with the people they met at Noah’s Ark’s groups. They’re unique adults with a softness about them.”