The bond between brothers is undeniably strong, but in this case the bond between strangers and brothers became even stronger. For Kalen and Kyan Kulas, it took a group of strangers banding together to help them get exactly what they needed.
For the Kulas family, things were looking dim. At only two years old, their son Kyan was diagnosed with Type 2 Spinal Muscular Atrophy. SMA Type 2 is a disease that, in its basic sense, atrophies all muscles that control motor movement until the affected patient can no longer move, swallow or breathe on their own. The disease does nothing to impair cognitive skills, but the atrophy gets so severe so quickly that life expectancy is usually around 10 years. Currently, there is no cure.
As if that diagnosis wasn’t heartbreaking enough, the Kulas family was informed that this was indeed a genetic disease, and they suggested testing the other two children. Their younger son, Kalen, tested positive as well. The chances were slim, but real: two of their three children had SMA Type 2.
Parents Jared and Sierra Kulas took the best road they knew how: instead of dwelling on their prognoses, give Kalen and Kyan the most amazing life experiences possible and spend each day cherishing their sons. And on top of it all, find a cure.
Through it all, the brothers have grown incredibly close. No matter their adventure, they do it together and with smiles on their faces. They even do their physical therapy sessions together and can often be found whispering into the night from their beds. They are each other’s best friend.
Unfortunately, there was one thing holding them back: transportation. Jared works three jobs to support the family, but between medical bills, the boys’ activities and therapy, the Kulas family did not have any spare money to throw around. That’s when they found Chive Charities, a group of strangers that want nothing more than to give back to the community. The Kulas family knew their application to raise money for a new wheelchair-accessible van might be the answer they were looking for.
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With the van, the boys could comfortably drive with their wheelchairs to water therapy, horseback riding lessons and clinical trials all the way in New York. They would no longer have to leave their wheelchairs behind and transfer into another car, only to transfer into strollers when they arrive at the hospital. A van would give the brothers more comfort in getting from point A to point B while simultaneously keeping them safe.
Chive Charities knew they could help. They set up a fund for the family and raised $55,000 to buy the family a new van. The boys are ecstatic with their new car and often go outside early in the mornings just to get in and go for a ride—even if it’s just in circles around the neighborhood.
“From the bottom of our five little hearts, thank you thank you thank you so much. Every minute of every day, this will change our lives,” Sierra told Chive Charities.
To help raise awareness and find a cure for SMA Type 2, visit the Kulas’ Facebook page at facebook.com/KureForKalen.
About Chive Charities
Chive Charities stems from the members of the website theCHIVE.com, a photo-entertainment website. Each month, Chive Charities picks a few cases that are in need of public awareness and set up funds to which their members can donate. Chive Charities are different because they help the specific “grantee” raise awareness for the cause in their lives rather than just raise awareness to the specific grantee.
To sign up to be a member of Chive Charities, visit members.chivecharities.org/.