Inspired by their eldest son, Aidan, who has cerebral palsy, Kevin and Nancy Leung founded Aidan's Red Envelope Foundation. Notwithstanding their son's multiple disabilities, Kevin and Nancy Leung constantly seek programs and activities that add interest and enrichment to Aidan's life. With an inclusive and adaptive mentality, Kevin and Nancy have enabled their son to go skiing in Lake Tahoe, go horseback riding, go ziplining in Costa Rica, attend Summer Camp and participate in numerous educational and therapeutic programs. These activities and programs would not have been possible if it were not for the noble organizations that conduct these life-enriching activities and programs for children with disabilities. Through the years, Kevin and Nancy have found these organizations to do valuable, underappreciated work. In these lean economic times, many of these worthy organizations have found it more challenging to continue to operate. Thus, the idea for Aidan's Red Envelope Foundation was born.
Early on, while navigating through the web of government support programs for Aidan, Nancy realized the challenging and strict criteria to receive governmental financial assistance. Nancy encountered many needy families getting denied assistance. Moreover, with the recent economic downturn and cutbacks in public support programs, families really in-need were left with no place to turn. Aidan's Red Envelope Foundation hopes to help these families fill the gap so that their children's lives can be enriched.
In 2009, Aidan's mom, Nancy, started writing a blog about her journey as Aidan's mom and their life's experiences. Check out the blog at:
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The Aidan Chronicles
Aidan, the oldest son of Kevin and Nancy Leung, was born on March 24, 2003. He was born a normal, healthy, beautiful baby. At birth he had apgar scores of 9, 9. A few days later he developed normal newborn jaundice and soon he suffered hyperbilirubinemia. In the Emergency Room they found his bilirubin to be a critically dangerous level of 41.9. After a 2-week stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where Aidan received a double volume blood exchange transfusion, he went home to his thankful but concerned parents.
At about 7 months old, an MRI of the brain confirmed Aidan officially with the diagnosis of Kernicterus, a type of brain damage caused by severe jaundice known as hyperbilirubinemia. Fortunately, the damage for Aidan was rather localized and he has normal intelligence but is severely physically-challenged. He has a movement disorder called dystonia which causes a constant contraction of the muscles and abnormal postures. Aidan is non-verbal, has a feeding tube and an internally implanted medical device called an intrathecal baclofen pump, which gives him a continuous muscle relaxer.
Despite all his challenges, Aidan has been mainstreamed at his local public school. With the help of wonderful, open-minded teachers, and a great school aide, and an amazing inclusion facilitator, Aidan thrives in school. The school children, while a little fearful and very inquisitive at first, learned to know and love Aidan.
Aidan loves to spend quality family time with his mom, dad and younger brother, Connor. He loves music, books, playing Wii, and enjoys the outdoors. Though still quite young, Aidan is very well-traveled. Some of Aidan's favorite vacation destinations include: Niagara Falls, the Caribbean, Cayman Islands, Alaska, and Hawaii. Some of the highlights of Aidan's excursions include: surfing in Waikiki; adaptive skiing at Alpine Meadows in Lake Tahoe and doing the Canopy Zipline tour through the rainforests of Costa Rica.
Aidan is a sweet, good-natured, sensitive boy with a tremendous spirit. He is charming and has a great sense of humor and can surely win anyone over with his brilliant smile. He's got a beguiling smile and is not afraid to use it! Aidan hopes that more children with disabilities will be enabled to experience life as rich and as colorful as he has. That is the hope of Aidan's Red Envelope Foundation.
To learn more about Aidan's condition, click the links below:
Kernicterus & Newborn Jaundice Online