Watching the eyes of Brian Beck, 2 1/2, and other handicapped children light up when they saw a bump-'n'-go clown, a music box TV and a climbing fireman was a rewarding pre-Christmas present for Sandy Rotarians.
The service club, led by president Geoff Nielsen and president-elect Neil Rollins, joined with the staff of Western Rehabilitation Institute and Genesis Engineering Inc., a Sandy firm that adapts toys for use of the handicapped, to brighten the lives of many patients served by Western Rehabilitation Institute.The hospital is an 80-bed private rehabilitation facility serving disabled adults and children. The center is located at 8074 S. 1300 East.
Many of the facility's young in-patients, out-patients and those who use toys from the hospital's lending library, are so handicapped they often don't have physical or other abilities to operate toys in the way other children do.
Equipping the toys with pressure switches, sound-sensitive and other devices help the handicapped to have fun, too.
It's wonderful to see the children and to "realize how eager they are to learn and do more despite their disabilities. Doctors told us they use the toys to test the children's abilities and interests," said Rollins, general manager of the South Towne Center.
"Doctors say the toys enable them to better analyze the children, so we feel we have made a major contribution," said Rollins, explaining the club's service project that provided funding for modifying toys at the hospital.
Brian Beck, son of Scott and Janet Beck, of Las Vegas, was born prematurely and weighed only 1 pound 6 ounces at birth. He was admitted to the hospital Oct. 9 to strengthen him physically, medically and to improve his speech.
The youngster, who has not been able to make sounds or to speak, is being weaned off oxygen and, hopefully, will be able to have a trachestomy removed from his windpipe within a few months, said Dian Winget, public relations coordinator.
Rollins, who has been involved with the institute for at least two years through his work at the South Towne Center, asked how the Rotarians could assist the rehabilitation institute. And Winget suggested the toy project, and the services of Genesis were employed.
"To be able to see the children respond to these adaptable toys was heartwarming for both the hospital staff and the Rotarians. We deeply appreciate the efforts of this fine service organization," Winget said.
Douglas D. Palmer