BY SHEENA ELZIE CINCINNATI PUBLISHED 8:45 PM ET APR. 12, 2021
CINCINNATI —Family heartache and the loss of a son has led to an organization with the mission to help other families in need.
What You Need To Know
Tammy Westmoreland's son died after going through a 15-year battle with Cerebral Palsy
She said she never got the help that she needed before he passed away
She started the non-profit group Their Voice to help other parents by providing respite care for their children with Cerebral Palsy
Tammy Westmoreland remembers the day, the hour and the minute like it was yesterday.
“He came out not breathing,” she said.
He survived birth, but shortly after her son, Tay, was born, he was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, a paralyzing disability that comes from brain damage.
“My son couldn’t walk, my son couldn’t talk, so I didn’t get to hear him speak and say mommy and all that,” said Westmoreland.
She said it was a struggle for 15 years.
“He had seizures, several times a day, he was on medication around the clock, on a feeding tube, and they denied me care,” said Westmoreland.
She said she ended up taking him to a nursing facility and one day it got worse. “That’s another part of guilt that I hold on to, that I told my son he was coming home, and he never made it,” said Westmoreland.
He died at the facility, but it’s his memory that started Their Voice.
“I don’t want a family to feel like they have to put their child into a home,” Westmoreland said. “That’s why we have the respite care program for families to go and take that moment, to have that mental care, that physical care, to take time for self.” Her non-profit group is helping moms, like Nathalie Hayes who’s five year old son, Sawyer, was born premature and was also diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy.
“He has some fine motor delays, gross motor delays, he uses his walker to get around, for the most part, I still have to carry him,” said Hayes.
The single mom stopped working to take care of his needs full time.
“Just with the amount of therapies that he has and the amount of time and effort it takes to care for him during the day and at night, he’s up a lot at night too,” said Hayes.
But every so often, she gets a break through Their Voice, a group helping to provide respite care, and helping families struggling through Cerebral Palsy get a second chance to create new memories.
“It gives me joy. It’s truly a blessing,” said Westmoreland.
More information on Their Voice may be found on the organization’s website.