Kaitlyn Weaver is Alabaster, Alabama’s angel, a 9-year-old fashionista and fighter. The bright colors she wears matches her bright personality. She likes to sing and color but most of all, she likes cheerleading, even if it is done while in a wheelchair, which it has been lately. That is because she suffers from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and Von Willebrand disease, the female version of hemophilia. She is under the care of 9 doctors at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, does chemotherapy weekly and remicade as needed for pain. Through it all, she never stops smiling.
Her parents know in-home water therapy would help but with the constant care the family pays up to $65,000 out-of-pocket annually in order to cover Kaitlyn’s medical expenses. Her sources for temporary relief: a warm daily bath with Epsom salt because she is unable to stand for a shower and a foot spa for her aching and swollen feet.
Then she received an upgrade in the form of a free, state-of-the-art hydrotherapeutic tub from Safe Step Walk-In Tub Co.
And it was a SURPRISE!
The Nashville-based company heard about Kaitlyn via a video submission (link below) that featured Kaitlyn along with her parents, Michele and Scott. The video was sent in order for Kaitlyn to be considered for the company’s national program of giving, Safe Step Cares. For the past three years, the company has donated tubs to those in need, free of charge. The video won the hearts of the entire Safe Step family and she received a tub of her own for free. It’s not the company’s first donation in the Birmingham area. A little over two years ago, the company helped Helena teenager Anna Grace McDonald with a free tub to help her combat her juvenile arthritis. She attended a Safe Step seminar, wanted the tub but her family was unable to afford it. Safe Step stepped in. The donation, reaction and reflection were all caught on camera as well.
The donation to Kaitlyn was pure magic. Kaitlyn was away at church camp while Safe Step was getting the bathroom ready for the install. She returned home on Thursday, June 23rd at 1 pm. At home, she found approximately 100 people – family, neighbors and friends – in her front yard, all wearing custom pink T-shirts that said Safe Step Cares about Kaitlyn Weaver. Kaitlyn is also the mascot for the UAB women’s volleyball team and several team members, in uniform, were there. Finally, waiting for her was her personalized Safe Step walk-in tub, gift wrapped with a huge pink bow. As a bonus, Anna Grace, who knows Kaitlyn and is in on the surprise, was there to welcome her and tell her how much difference the tub will make in order to ease her pain.
“We were completely moved by the video we received about Kaitlyn and her family’s story,” said Mike Duffer, founder and president of Safe Step Walk-In Tub Co. “We see a need here and we loved presenting her with this life-changing gift through Safe Step Cares that will help ease her pain.”