Showing their love
By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on June 5, 2014 1:46 PM
Courtney Anderson, 10, colors a "Love for Liam" poster in Emily West's class at Meadow Lane Elementary Wednesday. The posters will be hung in the halls of the school to remind students, teachers and visitors of a fundraising event this Saturday.
Justice Plott, 10, left, and Miles Carter, 10, center, color "Love for Liam" posters in Emily West's class at Meadow Lane Elementary Wednesday as Brittney Rogers, Liam's mother, watches.
Health insurance only goes so far when the costs associated with special formula, a feeding tube and seemingly endless trips to doctors set in.
A mother can only do so much on her own before the hours of lost sleep and days of missed work finally take their toll.
Liam Rogers has always been a source of joy for his parents.
But instead of being able to relish the milestones and special moments most experience during the first year of their child's life, the boy's mother, Brittney, has always been focused on a question no parent ever wants to be faced with.
How is she going to save her son?
Liam came into the world a year ago this week.
But three months later during a routine doctor visit, he was diagnosed with a rare brain disorder, pontocerebellar hypoplasia -- a condition that affects basic functions such as eating, walking and breathing and can result in developmental delays and a shortened life span.
And since that time, he has been in and out of surgery -- and specialists' offices -- at Duke and in Greenville.
Brittney, who works as the Meadow Lane Elementary School Title I reading specialist, never gave up -- despite the fact that she has missed more than 40 days of work because of Liam's condition.
So as another surgery looms -- this one, to replace his feeding tube -- those who know what the Rogers family is up against have decided to step in.
"She comes in this school, sleeping three or four hours a night because someone has to stay up with (Liam) all night," said Nicole Carter, Meadow Lane's curriculum facilitator. "She comes in and gives one million percent to these students, with a smile on her face. It's the most amazing thing I have ever witnessed."
So with the help of fourth-grade teacher Emily West, she spearheaded a fundraiser to support the family.
They decided to call it "Love for Liam."
Walking the Meadow Lane halls, it is not unusual to find students wearing blue bracelets bearing the 1-year-old's name.
Posters hang on the walls and donation jars are scattered throughout the county.
A Facebook page and donation site popped up online.
And Saturday, students and teachers will converge on the school Brittney has given so much of herself to.
The "Love for Liam" event will be held at the school from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m.
A yard sale starts at 7 a.m., and there will a chicken dinner from 2-5 p.m.
There will be carnival games, food and book sales, music and an auction, with all proceeds benefiting the family.
Brittney is overwhelmed by the outpouring of support.
"It's been an emotional roller coaster, but I'm on the highest part right now," she said. "I'm just so grateful to these ladies, the students at Meadow Lane, the staff at Meadow Lane. The community is stepping in to help us. The saying, 'None of you are granted tomorrow, so you have to live life to the fullest,' it may be easy for us, but it takes a little bit more for (Liam) to do that.
"We need help, so that Liam can reach his fullest potential. There's always miracles."
One of those miracles happened on Mother's Day.
"He was finally able to coordinate his eyes to a toy and purposely hit the toy. That was just so amazing," Brittney said, tearing up. "There are so many things that we take for granted. It takes longer for him to do things, but I'm not going to stop trying."
And she and her husband, Steve, a graphic designer, are determined to maintain a united front throughout the hurdles.
"We're working together even more now as a team than we ever had before," Brittney said. "We both have the same goal in mind -- to make Liam happy and healthy."
And with the help of a community known for standing behind families in need, another miracle just might be on the horizon.