KEESEVILLE - As parents of seven children, Melody and David LaFountain have their hands full. However, with their youngest children, four-year olds Anthony, Chandler and Luke-Richard - identical triplets with a neurological disease - Melody and David are looking for help from the community.
A spaghetti dinner with music and raffles will be held at the Keeseville Elks Lodge 2072 Saturday, Feb. 21 beginning at 2 p.m., to help support the triplets. The LaFountains have already decided what they want to use the money for, said Melody.
"Our number one thing is electronic devices for potty training," said Melody. "That's at the top of our list."
The boys suffer from spastic diplegia cerebral palsy, which leaves their legs as stiff as a log.
"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 actually they cry. It's got to be very painful."
Other neurological functions are affected by the disease, including their motor skills. However, Melody said she wants her sons to be as independent as possible. So in June she hopes to begin potty training them and hopes to have them begin self-feeding within the next two to three months.
"I'm finding as they grow, their needs have changed more and more," Melody explained. "It's becoming more expensive - a lot more expensive."
Currently, the only relief the boys get is by traveling to Albany for aquatic physical therapy.
"The buoyancy of the warm water, actually it helps the legs. It soothes them," said Melody. "You see the big difference after they have therapy. They're in no pain."
Melody and David installed an outdoor pool so the boys could continue their therapy from home, which Melody said led to them having a full night's sleep for the first time in their lives.
"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 hopes to make some conversions to the pool to allow year-round use. In order to do this, the cost will amount to at least $30,000.
The LaFountains have many other plans they would like to see happen, including 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 pool temperature for the boys.
"I want them to be as normal as possible, and that may never happen," Melody said. "But, if I don't make the things available to them, or try, I may never know."