During his enlistment with the Marine Corps at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Axel Lincoln returned from his second deployment to Afghanistan in 2011 and we got married. We welcomed our first son Ace at Camp Lejeune's Naval Hospital in January 2012, surrounded by our military family and friends. Soon after we moved to Iowa. Two years later, we welcomed our second son, Gunner, into the family. When Gunner was four months old, we learned he was born blind with a rare retina disorder called Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis. Since then, my husband and I have been struggling to receive additional help for our son, but we still encouraged Gunner to learn, grow and become an independent little boy. Ace has been a great help teaching Gunner! The boys are really a great team.
I’ve always heard of the struggles service members have with the VA, but I never heard of the struggle we would have getting assistance for our child who is visually impaired. It’s very unfortunate. It’s the worst feeling in the world feeling like you’re alone in all this, and nobody wants to help you. I’ve tried to do what I can to learn about how to help both my husband and my son, but some things are bigger than me and I decided to get my story out there. The worst someone could do is turn me away, but that just gives me another door to knock on to find another opportunity. I’m so thankful for Helping Heroes who did not hesitate to come to our aid when they were told about our home repairs that needed to get done, and quickly, so Gunner can play safely just like Ace can. It means a lot to me that these guys care about our family. Showing us we’re not alone has really boosted our spirits.
We hope to move to Tennessee in the near future so Gunner can attend The Tennessee School for the Blind and we can be around our family, friends and Axel’s friends from his time in service. Our next goal is to update the house and prepare to sell, so we can be able to afford a home in Tennessee that is suitable to both the needs of Axel and Gunner, and be a good forever-dream-home for my family.