The Kids of Yoocan Continue to Shine
Editor’s Note: In 2016, Moshe Gaon, a successful businessman and investor, put his other endeavors on hold to create Yoocan. Inspired by his nephew, who was born with a host of health conditions, he set out to build a global platform for people to share their stories of living with a disability. Three years later, nearly 2,000 storytellers have been featured on the site and more submissions are received daily. Many of the stories come from parents who bravely talk about the struggles and joys of having a child with a disability. Wheel:Life got updates from three of those parents who, along with their children, are showing the world that disability won’t keep them from living their best life!
Eudora and Her Little Red Wheelchair
Despite a rocky entrance into this world, including a long hospital stay, feeding tubes, and several inconclusive diagnoses, Eudora continues to wow everyone around her. Since her mom, Eleanor, shared her story on Yoocan in August of 2018, Eudora has been one busy girl!
After a few years of intense use, Eudora’s wheelchair was revamped this summer with two new wheels and castors as well as a front-wheel accessory to help her enjoy some off-road action. Eudora also took her first-ever airplane trip in July — a quick flight over the English Channel from her home country of Scotland to Brittany, France. Her wheelchair arrived safely, and she and her family had a blast hanging out at the beach and sipping coffee at the waterfront cafes.
Now at five years old, Eudora is ready to start primary school this fall, and she can’t be more excited. She’ll have plenty of stories to tell her new classmates about her adventurous summer, recent modeling gigs, and a role in one of her favorite children’s series that will be airing this Christmas. She’ll also be joining the Red Cross to raise money for refugees this fall by logging five self-propelled miles in her wheelchair. Go, Eudora! Check out @littleredwheelchair on Instagram for more photos!
Eudora’s Yoocan story can be found at Life’s Sweetest Surprise: Eudora.
Nothing Can Slow Noah Down
In less than four years of life, Noah has already beat cancer twice and is a spinal cord injury survivor as well. His disabilities don’t hold him back, though. Noah’s time has been filled with back-to-back adventures since his mom, Ivona, posted on Yoocan in April of 2018. Not knowing where to look for support at first, Ivona eventually discovered that even though there aren’t any organizations in Canada specifically for kids with SCI, help is still available through other resources. By networking with fellow parents of children with disabilities, Ivona heard about Million Dollar Smiles, a nonprofit that builds playsets for kids with disabilities. After she contacted the charity this summer, a group of volunteers came to their home and created a backyard playground with an accessible swing just for Noah!
When he’s not playing in his backyard, Noah likes to attend a program through ParaSport Ontario called Cruisers. There, he gets to participate in various sports from week to week. Wheelchair basketball didn’t work out too well because the ball won’t stay in his lap due to his small size. But that didn’t phase him because he gets to do so many fun activities with Cruisers, including learning to propel a racing wheelchair from Canadian Paralympian Isaiah Christophe! His mom loves that he’s interacting with other kids and adults with disabilities and feels it’s building his self-confidence as he learns that using a wheelchair is nothing to be ashamed of.
Although at Cruisers, Noah is surrounded by fellow members of the disability community, this summer, he also attended a camp where he was the only kid in a wheelchair. His mom was a little anxious about it at first, but Noah had a great time and came home having made a lot of new friends. He enjoyed camp so much that he didn’t want to leave!
Thanks to physical therapy and rehabilitation sessions in both the US and Canada, Noah is gaining strength and mobility in his legs. Although he doesn’t see the point in learning to walk since he’s so comfortable with his wheelchair, he can now stand on his own with the help of a walker and KAFO braces.
Noah also got a new wheelchair this summer equipped with a front central caster that allows him to navigate bumps and uneven terrain more easily. It will surely be helpful while he’s playing with his new friends at recess when he starts school this fall!
Erez Celebrates His 11th Birthday
Editor’s Note: Wheel:Life also caught up with Yoav Gaon, the father of Erez, the boy who inspired the creation of Yoocan. Here’s what the family has been up to this summer in their home country of Israel.
“Our amazing, happy boy, Erez, celebrated his 11th birthday in July. Erez was born with a rare condition called giant congenital nevi and neurocutaneous melanosis, scoliosis, and more. Erez does not stop sharing his smiles and positivity with the world. He celebrated his birthday at our house with friends from his regular and special school, family friends, and family. Everyone had a blast. A television reporter was even there to show the event nationally following the release of Erez’s mom’s new novel The Flower Quilt, which tells her and Erez’s story in an empowering and direct way.
Following the party at home, we continued the celebration at the Tel Aviv Port. We rode the merry-go-round, ate by the seaside, and took a family photo next to the iconic “I Love Tel Aviv” sign. We want to share the happiness of Erez and our approach of looking at the glass half full. We do the best we can in supporting each other as a family and making Erez smile as it helps us smile too. Happy Birthday, Erez! We love you, and the world loves you too. You show us every day that yoocandoanything!” -Yoav Gaon
Editor’s Note: Read Erez’s mom’s post on Yoocan — Living with a Rare Disease: Congenital Nevus.
Share Your Child’s Story
Are you a parent of a child with a disability and feel like you’re fighting a battle alone? Yoocan, a global community for people with disabilities, is a great way to connect with others facing similar obstacles. Read through posts from thousands of storytellers and share your own struggles and successes. All you have to do is go to yoocanfind.com, click on “+ADD” at the top of the page, and follow the steps to create an account by clicking on “Sign Up For Free.” Once you’re registered, you’ll be directed to a form where you can write up your story and upload a few photos. Need help? Just click on the “Chat With Caring People” button at the bottom right side of the website. All submissions are reviewed before appearing on the website, so you probably won’t see yours right away. Just make sure to follow along on social media daily, so you don’t miss it!
If you’d like to support Yoocan, consider doing some of your product research and shopping via Yoocanfind.com/Shop. Access to the site is free, and for every purchase you make, Yoocan receives a small commission from the vendors they work with to help build new features, such as Yoocan Work, and keep the global community up and running.
Read more about Yoocan:
- Yoocan: Where People with Disabilities from All Over the World Connect
- Yoocan Storytellers Discuss Interabled Relationships and Adaptive Sports
About the Author
Betsy Bailey has a diverse background that includes experience in marketing research, business operations, travel and culinary writing, and playing volleyball professionally overseas.
Betsy has been writing for Wheel:Life since January of 2017 and thoroughly enjoys the process of getting to know her interviewees. She also practices parkour, speaks French fluently, and travels any chance she gets!