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Kenadi’s Closet is making a difference for kids with different abilities

Three women with adaptive equipment
Pictured above: Lori Deibert, Meagan Stephens, OT, Elizabeth Howorth, PT. Lori represented Kenadi’s Closet during the donation of several pieces of adaptive equipment to Monument Health Rehabilitation in Spearfish. “I want people to understand that just because someone might need a piece of equipment to help them function, they’re still wonderful human beings that have so much to offer, and a lot of love to give,” she says.

Elizabeth Howarth, Physical Therapist, and Meagan Stevens, Occupational Therapist, enjoy working with a specific demographic of patients at Monument Health Rehabilitation in Spearfish. “We treat a really unique subset of patients here in Spearfish, and it’s something that we’ve kind of taken under our wing,” Elizabeth says of their pediatric patients with disabilities.

One of the challenges for their patients’ families is access to adaptive equipment. These devices are expensive, pediatric patients can outgrow equipment quickly, and since no two children are the same, it can be difficult for parents to know if a piece of adaptive equipment will be right for their family. Luckily, the folks at the Kenadi Jean Weis Foundation can help with that, through Kenadi’s Closet, a collection of adaptive equipment.

“Kenadi’s Closet was started after Kenadi’s death, when we realized that we had several pieces of adaptive equipment that she wasn’t using anymore,” explains Lori Deibert, Kenadi’s grandmother. “Once we combined it from all the different areas of the house, we realized that it would fill a small storage unit. So that’s what we did.”

Kenadi suffered an anoxic brain injury at birth, resulting in her being physically and cognitively delayed. She required the use of various pieces of adaptive equipment during her life. Through the use of that equipment, the love and support of her family and the medical care she received, Kenadi was able to live her life to the fullest.

Understanding the challenges faced by families of children with disabilities, Kenadi’s mother, Kelly Weis, a Registered Nurse with Spearfish Hospital Surgical Services, wanted to make things a little easier for others. Her family agreed, and that led to the creation of Kenadi’s Closet. Lori explains, “Kenadi’s Closet lets families trial a piece of equipment before they make an expensive investment in their child’s adaptive pieces. That way they can find out if a piece is a good fit for their child before they buy one.”

Kenadi’s Closet recently made an adaptive equipment donation to Monument Health Rehabilitation in Spearfish to help the pediatric patients treated by caregivers like Elizabeth and Meagan. “We are incredibly grateful for this donation. When Lori came to us, it was obvious that we needed this,” says Meagan. “We want to grow the pediatric practice and show just how much ability these kids have. Having this equipment to help will provide a lot of hope to these kids and their parents.”

“Megan and I both always see the ability before the disability, and this donation will help these kids — and the world — see things the same way,” adds Elizabeth.

Click here to learn more about Kendai’s Closet and the Kenadi Jean Weis Foundation.

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