Steven Chambers has been through a lot in his 12 years.
Born with cerebral palsy, he has spent his life in and out of hospitals. He lived through surgeries and injections and has been encased in a body cast twice.
All these experiences, however, have made the Vale local into who he is today — a precocious kid who likes swimming, participates in academically gifted classes and plays video games on his down time.
â€œIf I hadnâ€™t got anything done, I wouldnâ€™t be hanging out at my friends, going to school,â€ he said.
Steven says he owes his good fortune to the Shriners of Lincoln County. The organization found Steven at the right time â€“ he had just gone through a near-death experience involving a misplaced feeding tube.
The Shriners took on the Chambers family, sponsoring all his hospital visits and even paying for room and board at hotels near the Shrinersâ€™ hospital in Greenville, S.C.
On his first visit, Steven said he knew this place was different.
â€œTheyâ€™re so children oriented, they really take into account what a kid would want,â€ he said.
There were toys and games and, even more importantly, kids just like him.
â€œIt makes you feel like, â€˜OK, Iâ€™m a normal kid,â€™â€ he said.
For his mother, it was the first place that gave her hope. Everyone else told her little could be done until Steven turned 12.
â€œWe can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel,â€ she said.
Steven can now walk with a walker, get from his wheelchair to his bed himself and swim.
â€œI canâ€™t swim, but he can,â€ Barbara said. â€œHeâ€™s like a fish in the summer time.â€
Itâ€™s an enormous change for a boy who was born with no feeling in his legs.
â€œHe can do so much, itâ€™s just an amazing difference,â€ Barbara said.
In order to help children like Steven, the Shriners do yearly fund raisers, one of which is happening this week.
The annual Paper Drive will take place Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Shriners will be on the corner of Generals Boulevard and Main Street collecting funds from passing cars.
All the money goes to a good cause â€“ helping children like Steven.
â€œThey have to be good people or they wouldnâ€™t be doing this,â€ Barbara said. â€œThey do it because they want to do it.â€
Want to go? The Shriners will be collecting money half a day on Thursday, all day Friday and half a day on Saturday at the intersection of Generals Boulevard and Main Street.
by Sarah Grano