Go Baby Go!

Philanthropy Turns the Key on a Unique Program at Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital.

GoBabyGo!, a national, community-based design and outreach program, is putting differently abled children in the driver’s seat at Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital, a part of Northwestern Medicine. Thoughtful philanthropists are the power source behind this unique opportunity. Founded in 2012 by James C. (Cole) Galloway, PhD, FAPTA, at the University of Delaware, the GoBabyGo! program modifies battery-powered ride-on cars for young children affected by cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and other physical and cognitive challenges in order to help them develop their independent mobility, improve their social development and strengthen their self-confidence.

Thanks to generous gifts from many donors, the GoBabyGo! chapter at Marianjoy — the only chapter in Chicago’s western suburbs — is a thriving initiative that is bringing hope and enjoyment to a growing number of children and families. One 3-year-old boy, Kycen Schimandle, from Plano, Illinois, was recently identified as an ideal candidate for a GoBabyGo! car through the coordinated efforts of staff members at Marianjoy and Northwestern Medicine Valley West Hospital.

Kycen is affected by opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome (OMS), a rare neurological disorder believed to be the result of an autoimmune process that affects the nervous system. Children with OMS often require wheelchairs and experience developmental delays. Since being introduced to his GoBabyGo! car, however, Kycen is exploring all kinds of new avenues, becoming more mobile and independent every day.

Kycen’s mother, Stephanie Kaspar, shared, “When we were contacted about a GoBabyGo! car for Kycen, we were so excited. This opportunity has done so much for him, and we are so grateful to everyone whose generosity brought the GoBabyGo! Program to Marianjoy and to our family. Kycen is so happy when he is zooming along in his Jeep!”

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