Atlas Broms

Please let me introduce you to my 4 year old son, Atlas. Atlas is our first and only child. He is one of the happiest and sweetest kids you could ever meet. He is headstrong, social, funny and curious. Atlas loves anything that lights up, listening to and playing music, reading books and playing outside. Despite his almost constant joy, Atlas was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition called Lowe Syndrome. Lowe Syndrome affects the eyes, brain and kidneys, causing a myriad of health issues and global delays. There is currently no cure.

About 36 hours after Atlas was born, he failed the red reflex test and we found out he had congenital cataracts as well as nystagmus. At 6 and 7 weeks of age he received surgery to remove the cataracts. Afterwards he began wearing glasses and was a happy baby. After several months we noticed certain milestones not being met and had him assessed. We learned that he had hypotonia and needed a lot of help with his strength. He began receiving OT and PT on a regular basis in hopes that he would eventually catch up. However, more red flags began to pop up and we could not find the underlying cause. After several specialists, MRI’s, a misdiagnosis, and a genetic test, we finally learned at 18 months of age that Atlas had Lowe Syndrome.

In the years following the diagnosis, we gathered an amazing team of therapists, teachers, specialists and doctors to rally around him and give him the best care possible. Atlas began walking with a walker, slowly began talking and hitting milestones in his own time. It was wonderful to see him thriving! He is currently receiving OT, PT, Speech, Vision therapy and hydrotherapy on a regular basis. Over the last year, we learned that due to his kidney function, his bones are weak and he has pediatric osteoporosis. Atlas fractured his tibia in 2020 and over the spring/summer of 2021 he fractured both femurs, so he has essentially had to learn how to walk 3 times. He is currently walking almost completely without his walker and only uses it in unfamiliar spaces and if he wants to go fast. Recently Atlas began receiving bone infusions with his endocrinologist in hopes that it will strengthen his bones and stop the vicious cycle of fractures.

Amidst this extremely difficult year, we noticed Atlas’s love for dogs begin to grow. My mother in law, Atlas’s Nani, would often come visit with her golden-doodle and they became fast friends. When he was laid up in a cast, she would not leave his side and their bond began to grow even more. It was during this time that my husband and I thought it would be a great idea to look into a service dog for Atlas. After extensive research and discussions with other families who went through 4 Paws for their children, we knew that this was the right place for us.

We completed the application, consisting of medical approval as well as documentation from his therapist. Shortly after, we were approved and agreed to raise the $17,000 for 4 Paws in order to help train the dog. Training a service dog to meet the requirements can be very costly. On average it costs between $40,000-60,000 to raise, train, and place a service dog at 4 Paws for Ability.

Welcoming a service dog into Atlas’s life would quite literally be life changing. Despite Atlas walking almost independently now, due to his hypotonia, he is still weak and clumsy, and falls often. A service dog would be a huge help by being there for him in case he begins to lose his balance. Atlas also still has low vision, as he still has not had the secondary surgery to place a lens in his eyes. It is very difficult for him to see things when he looks down due to his nystagmus and the inability to focus at certain angles. With a service dog by his side, he would not only be able to know when he is coming up to a curb or has to walk up or down stairs, he would also have the physical support needed to maneuver those areas.

At 4 years old, Atlas has been through more trauma than anyone should have to endure, and no parent should ever have to see their child in such circumstances. Everyday my husband and I are blown away at how he continues to maintain such joy, determination and resilience. Lowe Syndrome is a lifelong disease and it is our mission to give him every single thing possible to help him continue to thrive. We truly feel that a service dog most definitely could help him accomplish even more.

Please consider making a donation in Atlas’s name. No contribution is too small!

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