The Joy of Key Chains

One of the great joys of working with families with special needs children is seeing how they can inspire people to reach out to support one another. One of our clients, Marla and David Rosenblum and their daughter, Aubree, is a perfect example. After undergoing years of testing, Aubree was diagnosed with an extremely rare disorder, Helsmoortel-VanDerAa Syndrome (HVDAS). Discovered in 2014, the disorder afflicts only 147 people in the world, three of them in California. Last year, with Aubree approaching her 16th birthday, her mother, Marla decided to do something special for Aubree. Aubree has an unusual passion — she loves key chains. So Marla decided to use social media to get the word out. She began posting a polite request for key chains, and the response was overwhelming. Since last September, Aubree has received over 3,000 key chains in the mail, from well-wishers around the world. Toward the end of last year, she constantly checked the mailbox to see what had arrived that day. She was continually rewarded with packages and envelopes with a variety of key chains. Her story began making news. The Ventura County Star ran a story on Aubree. Marla also posted her story on Facebook. One of the great stories that grew out of the publicity involved a muscle car club called Head Turners, who threw Aubree a party. On her Facebook page, Marla says. “We were blown away by the kindness of @socalheadturners. What an amazing event they put on tonight in honor of Aubree. They gave her so many key chains. She was so excited. Thank You for making Aubree’s birthday so special. I am forever grateful for strangers who took the time to learn about my #Rare girl.” Another especially heartwarming card came from a little girl who reached out to Aubree. Marla says, “It was all phonetically spelled, and she said she was special, too. Her mother wrote that her daughter has cerebral palsy, and she made her a little key chain.” Aubree’s story, and working with Aubree’s family, is a joy indeed.

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