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Leslie Patterson High found her potential at Schreiber

Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, Schreiber has been open about the enormous financial challenges we have now. They are challenges that every nonprofit is facing, but we’ve heard from a lot of people for whom Schreiber holds a special place.

People like Leslie Patterson High.

Leslie initially emailed asking how she could help. I said we needed stories. Stories that would remind people the role that Schreiber has played for generations helping thousands of kids grow up so they could live their best lives.

Leslie has one of those stories.

She received services at Schreiber for about four years in the late 1980s. Today, she is married and works as a nurse in a long-term care facility working with seniors. She has six nephews and two nieces that she says she loves to spoil. She loves hiking and photography.

When she was born, though, none of that was certain. Some of it might have been thought to be impossible. But here she is. And she graciously agreed to tell her story, in her own words.

If you are moved by Leslie’s story, you can make a donation to Schreiber here.

“When I was born, an unexpected and a rare thing happened. The umbilical cord prolapsed. In plain terms, as I was about to be born, instead of my head entering the world first, the umbilical cord did. Then, as my body tried to enter, it pinched the cord, cutting off my oxygen supply. My mother had an emergency cesarean section, and that’s how I was delivered. However, the oxygen deprivation caused me to develop more slowly compared with children my age. This became evident as I entered preschool. With the guidance of the doctors, my parents chose to have me begin services in Physical and Occupational Therapy at Schreiber.

“Although that was more than 30 years ago, I can still vividly recall parts of the therapy at Schreiber. I shook my hands when I got excited, especially when I walked. My therapist would walk with me in the hall, reminding me over and over: ‘Leslie keep your hands at your side.’ It didn’t matter if it was 100 times in a session, they did it to help me.

“And it worked. I now walk with my hands at my side.

“I also had difficulty with holding a pencil. I remember the therapist giving me pencil grippers and allowing me to choose the color I wanted (that was my favorite part), and then we would write. Today, writing is one of my biggest passions.

“I struggled with balance, too, so I would mirror my therapists as they stood on one foot or hopped. Every session, I got stronger. When I look back now, I see my time at Schreiber as a time where I had to work hard. But I also had fun. I remember once a friend’s family took me to therapy, and the kids were asking why I got to play on the equipment but none of the other kids did.

“More than being difficult and fun, Schreiber changed my life. I know that there is no way I would have made it to kindergarten on time without the developmental strides my therapists helped me to achieve. I couldn’t hold a pencil or tie my shoes when I got there. But when I was done I could! These days when I tell people I had setbacks as a child, they tell me they would have never known.

“The miracles like these happen all the time at Schreiber. Since 1936 Schreiber has opened their doors and their hearts to children from all over Lancaster County and beyond. Children just like me. Children who, given a chance and some therapy, can overcome all kinds of challenges.

“Schreiber is funded partly through donors and public fundraising. Due to the recent COVID19 crises, fundraising and services have come to a halt. For the first time since 1936, Schreiber has been unable to provide services in the center. Now more than ever, Schreiber needs donations so they can keep improving the lives of developmentally delayed children for generations to come. Please consider donating today. Schreiber still has a lot of life and love to give.”