August 5, 2005
"They are fighters. They had
a lot of things stacked against
them. They try as hard
as they can. "
-Scott Branson, father of Luke and Zach
Raymond Thompson - firstname.lastname@example.org
Top: Marilyn Soper (not shown), a physical therapist, stretches and massages Luke Branson, 7, during a therapy session in their home in North Aurora. Above: After a few steps with a SmartWalker, Luke's twin, Zach Branson, 7, receives a kiss from his mother, Kerri, during a therapy session in their North Aurora home Thursday. Zach and Luke were born prematurely and have cerebral palsy.
Double the love
Twins keep up fight against cerebral palsy
By ERIC SCHELKOPF
Most parents look forward to seeing their child take their first steps.
Kerri and Scott Branson of North Aurora have less lofty goals for their 7-year-old twins, Luke and Zach, who have cerebral palsy after being born 12 weeks premature.
"We see little improvements which are highly noticeable for us," Scott Branson said. "We don't expect them to just start walking or talking one day. We have seen some unbelievable improvements in the last few years."
The Bransons have additional financial burdens as they try to care for their sons. The couple is saving money to buy a van with a wheelchair lift.
"It is getting too hard to lift them up in a van," Kerri said.
The van could cost between $40,000 and $50,000, she said.
The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd will have a fundraiser from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at 115 Oak St., North Aurora, for the Branson family and three other beneficiaries -- Messenger Public Library's youth literacy programs, Habitat for Humanity and Diakonia AIDS Ministry in South Africa.
Tickets are $5 for adults, and $3 for children ages 5 to 11.
How to help
* The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd will have a fundraiser from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at 115 Oak St., North Aurora, for the Branson family and three other charities -- Messenger Public Library's youth literacy programs, Habitat for Humanity and Diakonia AIDS Ministry in South Africa.
The Bransons have two other children, Leah, 3, and Sam, 5, and are trying to provide them with a normal childhood as they take care of Luke and Zach.
So they all participate in such activities as camping out in the backyard.
"These boys have a full and active life," said speech therapist Barb Buckham, who with a physical therapist works with the twins.
Luke and Zach attend Hope Wall School in Aurora, a school for special needs students.
Along with physical and speech therapy, Luke and Zach receive hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
The twins sit inside a special oxygen tank and breathe pure oxygen.
Kerri Branson said the therapy can help deliver oxygen to damaged parts of the brain that were just "idling."
"It puts your body into super healing. It has improved their vision and their muscle tone," she said.
Kerri and Scott are proud of what Luke and Zach have accomplished.
For example, Luke calls Kerri "Momma," and Zach on occasion will say, "I love you."
"There is always potential. The brain is amazing what it can do," Kerri Branson said.
"They are fighters," Scott Branson said. "They had had a lot of things stacked against them. They try as hard as they can."
The fundraiser is being held in conjunction with this weekend's North Aurora Days. Activities during the Summer Celebration include a pancake breakfast from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Other activities include a bake sale at 8 a.m., a book sale from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., a children's clothing/toy sale from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and a children's fun fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Thrivent Financial for Lutherans will match any funds raised up to $1,600.
For questions or comments e-mail:
*this website was designed and is maintained by Luke & Zach's, mom, Kerri Branson.