Kana and James waited years to have a child of their own, and in 2019 their beautiful daughter Mei was born. Like many kids, Mei soon began crawling, sitting, and pulling herself up to stand. However, right before her first birthday, Mei’s abilities began regressing. On March 15th, 2020, just days into the COVID-19 lockdown, the family finally received answers. Mei was diagnosed with Aicardi Goutieres syndrome 6 – a rare genetic condition that affects the brain, spinal cord, and immune system.
The family learned the syndrome would impact their daughter’s physical and intellectual abilities, and result in a shorter lifespan. The months following the diagnosis were a whirlwind for Kana and James. Navigating a global pandemic with an immunocompromised 1-year-old left them feeling extremely isolated and alone.
After months of searching for the right service provider, Mei’s family found UCP of Orange County (UCP-OC), where they began receiving Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Early Intervention, and Respite services weekly.
“Mei has shown improvement in all of her therapies. She has learned to use a straw and is also using her tongue more in feeding therapy. Our Early Intervention specialist would always encourage us to push beyond limitations. Mei has shown us she can do so much more than what we think is possible,” James said. Today, Mei is a bright and happy three-year-old. She understands Japanese and English and loves taking stroller rides to the neighborhood park with her parents.
“When other parents talk about which after-school programs they want for their kids, they have a choice. In our case, it will always be therapies. We don’t get to choose the fun because our time is already filled,” Kana said. UCP-OC’s trained caregivers provide play-based pediatric therapy to create an evidence-based plan of care that is both effective and engaging to the unique needs of every child.
UCP-OC has been a trusted service provider for Orange County’s disability community for nearly 70 years. In supporting families like Mei’s, UCP-OC has been operating far beyond its name with a wide range of therapeutic, community-based, and in-home services. In fact, the organization now treats more than 160 medical diagnoses through multiple programs and touchpoints. Dedicated clinicians and staff serve with compassion, infusing innovation, play and creativity into every activity.
In 1953, UCP-OC carved out a mission to support and improve the lives of children and adults with cerebral palsy. Since then, they have expanded their scope to include children and families with all disabilities –– not just cerebral palsy. And today, they’re going through another transformative change.
To better reflect the organization’s expanded scope, and their steadfast commitment to creating a limitless future for children and families with disabilities, UCP-OC will reintroduce itself to the community as Unlimited Possibilities, or UP on March 31st, 2022. “The thought of rebranding to better serve our community has been a priority of our board, staff, and marketing team over the last few years. We are so proud that we have landed on this new name and mission. For us and those we serve, the possibilities are endless”, said UCP-OC’s Vice President of Philanthropy & Marketing, Christina Lim-Garkovich, CFRE.
UCP-OC’s new home is their glittering new facility located at 1251 E. Dyer Rd., Suite 150, Santa Ana, CA 92705. The organization’s top-quality, 18,000 sq. ft. headquarters also houses their Pediatric Therapy Center. UCP-OC President and CEO, Ramin Baschshi, M.D. shared, “Our leading-edge facility will be a cornerstone of support for children and families with disabilities. We are incredibly excited for everyone to see our new home and learn what’s next for our organization.”
UCP-OC’s new facility is not only designed to accommodate thousands of children and families each year but will also launch the organization’s status as one of the premier care providers for those with disabilities. During a time of uncertainty, in our localities as well as globally, UCP-OC is a shining example that through perseverance and dedication to doing good work, we can build a better and more inclusive world for those who need it most.
Find more at uptheimpact.org