Jazmyne Harris and Amy & Emily Templeton
Girls with Rare Disease (Friedreich’s Ataxia) Selected as ‘Safe Step Cares’ Honorees
December 19th, 2013 – It began with a letter to a company in Nashville about a teenage girl in Indianapolis with a rare, life threatening disease.
Nathan Hand, a friend of the girl’s family, wrote to Safe Step Walk-In Tub Co., which had recently donated a state-of-the art therapeutic tub through its nationwide program of giving, Safe Step Cares. The recipient, Selena Yorke, suffers from Friedreich’s Ataxia (FA), a rare neuromuscular disorder that affects every cell in her body as well as her heart. Hand was looking for a helping hand for his friend, Virgil Harris.
Virgil’s 15-year-old daughter Jazmyne also has Friedreich’s Ataxia, a severely debilitating, degenerative disorder which is inherited at birth. So determined to give Jazmyne the quality of life she deserves, Virgil set up a foundation, Jumpin’ for Jazz, to tell her story, increase awareness about FA and raise funds to offset her medical bills. Hand thought the therapeutic tub would be perfect for the family.
Safe Step, which routinely receives numerous letters for tub donations, loved the letter and Jazmyne’s story and decided to help. But the company got a big surprise when they called Virgil to let him know. Virgil told Safe Step that the Templetons, another Indianapolis family who has two college-age daughters with FA, were more deserving. If there was one tub to give, Virgil said, give it to the Templetons.
Amazed by Virgil’s thoughtfulness, Safe Step decided that one tub wasn’t enough in Indianapolis, so it decided that the Templeton family, at Virgil’s suggestion, would receive the tub for their daughters Amy and Emily, while Jazmyne would receive an additional tub too.
“I am so grateful for this gift,” said Harris. “I show my enthusiasm because Jazmyne will benefit but I am so thankful that the Templetons got their tub as well.”
Virgil’s thoughtfulness was not lost on the Templetons.
“Virgil’s selflessness, and what Safe Step did in providing two tubs, is just unbelievable,” said Paul Templeton, Amy and Emily’s father. “Safe Step came in here and immediately you could tell that they were looking out for us, caring about our needs.”
Earlier this year, Safe Step launched its Safe Step Cares program, in which the company rewards those in need on a regular basis at no cost.
“We’re a family company and the connections we make along the way are so important to us that we wanted to be here to show them that they are now a part of our family,” said Andi Allender, Safe Step’s director of marketing. “As a result of Safe Step Cares, three girls in Indianapolis are going to gain independence and actually feel better when they bathe.”
“Safe Step is in the business of changing the lives of our neighbors and friends, every day” said Safe Step CFO Stuart Hall, who made the trip from Nashville to Indianapolis to present the tubs in person with Allender at both residences. “We are pleased to be able to provide Jazmyne, Emily and Amy more safety and comfort as they cope with the effects of this unforgiving disease.”
Perhaps Amy and Emily’s mother, Shawna Templeton, summed the event up best: “For ten years, we’ve been like ‘what are we going to do?’ and then to have this all given to us today, I’m just amazed. I’m overwhelmed by the generosity, the love, the friendship and the beauty of it all.”
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