Logan and Joseph Salembier, seven-year-old twins from Maple Ridge, both love soccer though Joseph might love basketball even more.
The Grade 2 students at Maple Ridge Elementary are not able to play sports along with their peers.
Both boys have low muscle tone in their legs and have to wear leg braces to help them stay upright – braces that cost about $2,200 a pair – and are supplied to the family for free thanks to Variety.
The organization’s 55th annual Show of Hearts Telethon is taking place this weekend.
Joseph and Logan, who will be sharing their story on the telethon, started wearing braces at the age of three because they were still not walking on their own.
They are now on their second set of braces each, all paid for by Variety.
“Their legs aren’t strong like a regular seven-year-old’s would be,” explained their mother Jennifer. “Joseph is not really balanced and can’t really run. Logan can run a little more than Joseph and he’s got the balance, he’s just a little slower,” said their mom.
Both boys, who love watching sports online, were also diagnosed with autism when they were two-years-old – another barrier to playing their favourite sports.
Variety has also helped the family out in other ways.
Joseph and Logan have been battling a series of health issues since birth.
They were born premature and weighed only four pounds, 11 ounces at birth.
Logan was kept on a heart monitor because he was experiencing a slower heart rate periodically, while Joseph had swallowed a lot of blood at birth because Jennifer’s placenta erupted, so he had to be put on special medicine.
He was also diagnosed with hypospadias, a condition where the urethra does not open in the proper place, which would eventually require him to have surgery after he turned one.
They were in the neonatal intensive care unit for about seven weeks, which was difficult, said Jennifer, especially since Joseph was at Surrey Memorial Hospital and Logan was in Abbotsford Regional Hospital.
Then, it was discovered Joseph had a soft cleft on the palette inside his mouth, which made it difficult for him to breast feed.
“He wasn’t able to suck, and he needed special bottles for feeding,” she explained.
Variety supplied Joseph with the special bottles.
“Variety has been so helpful to my family,” Jennifer acknowledged.
Jennifer hopes the twins won’t have to wear the leg braces for the rest of their lives, but she has been told by their occupational therapist they will be wearing them for a while, yet.
She estimated they will need new leg braces for each boy every 18 months.
“We would not be able to afford the boys leg braces without the help from Variety,” said Jennifer.
“Getting the boys these leg braces means so much to me and Trevor [her husband],” she added.
“It is a big stress relief for us, as our boys needs don’t come cheap, and we want them to enjoy being little boys.”
Both Logan and Joseph love being outside.
“Without them the boys wouldn’t be getting stronger or getting the support that they need for walking and running,” she said of the braces.
Jennifer and Trevor will be looking into sports for autistic children this year, if they are allowed to play with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Joseph and Logan were both interviewed for Variety’s Show of Hearts Telethon, but the interview will feature mostly Joseph.
“Logan does not sit for very long,” laughed Jennifer, adding that Joseph’s the social butterfly.
Jennifer is honoured that Variety wants to share their story with other families to let them know there is financial help for those who need it.
“Please donate to Variety to help kids like my boys.”
The Variety Show of Hearts Telethon takes place Feb. 18 to 20 on Global BC.