KEESEVILLE - Faced with a rare neurological disease that affects all three of their identical triplet sons, Melody and David LaFountain hope to raise money to help make their children's lives more bearable.
To help with this effort, a benefit spaghetti dinner with music and raffles will be held at the Keeseville Elks Lodge 2072, Saturday, Feb. 21, beginning at 2 p.m.
The LaFountains have a number of projects they hope to eventually complete, including devices that will aid in potty training the four-year-olds and building a covering over an outside pool, making it usable year-round. The money raised at the benefit will be used for projects such as these.
The boys - Anthony, Chandler and Luke-Richard - suffer from spastic diplegia cerebral palsy, a disease that causes spasticity, or severe stiffening of their legs. It also affects other neurological functions, including fine motor skills, which has delayed the boy's development.
"The more spasticity ... the harder it is for them to bend their legs," she said. "At night, they get a lot of muscle spasms and they cry. It's got to be very painful."
Melody hopes that money raised through fund-raisers like Saturday's spaghetti dinner will improve the boy's standard of living and alleviate some of the pain they endure every day.
"I'm finding that as they grow, their needs have changed more and more," Melody explained. "It's becoming more expensive, a lot more expensive."
First and foremost, Melody would like her boys to be independent, so her immediate goal is to have the boys potty trained and have them begin self-feeding.
"Our number one thing is electronic devices for potty training," said Melody. "That's at the top of our list."
Other purchases the LaFountains hope to make include a new counter for the boys, so Melody can work on their fine motor skills, special chairs so the boys can be buckled in while she works with them, and a solar panel to increase the temperature of the family's outside pool.
Water therapy offers one of the few sources of relief for the pain endured by the boys, Melody said.
The triplets travel to Albany for aquatic therapy, which soothes their pain. The LaFountains also installed a pool, so the children could continue therapy at home. The pool led to the children's first full night of sleep, Melody said.
"We knew the water itself was making a difference as far as their pain levels, their attitude, everything," she said.
However, during the cold months, the boys cannot use the pool, so Melody is hoping to eventually encase it, making it usable year-round. In order to do this, the family will need to raise at least $30,000.
"I want them to be as normal as possible, and that may not ever happen," Melody said. "But, if I don't make the things available to them, or try, I may never know."