She can’t walk or talk, but don’t be fooled by the wheelchair.
Tyme Fiedorczyk thinks just like any other 15-year-old, but unfortunately, her body can’t keep up with her mind.
Deprived of oxygen at birth, she suffered permanent brain damage and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 3 years old.
Her parents, Kim and Eric, both Air Force veterans, refused to let that get in the way.
“We’ve taught her from a very young age that she has a tough road ahead of her, and there will be a lot of obstacles, but we will always get around them,” said her dad Eric.
For instance, communicating, she got around that problem after learning to use her knees to tap out words from a computer.
The one obstacle that has been hard for her to overcome is her lack of movement.
Tyme spends most days strapped in a wheelchair, unable to walk without help. So any chance she gets, she wants out.
The only place she can move freely, without any restrictions, is in the water.
“She loves being in the pool, and she is a totally different girl when she is in the water. She relaxes, and she is able to kick her feet. It’s very therapeutic for her,” said her mom Kim.
Family pictures in the pool show pure joy on Tyme’s face. She swims with her dad when the family can make it happen, which isn’t very often.
“We looked at putting in an above-ground, because financially, that’s as close as we could afford to do, but then we didn’t know how we would get her in there,” said Fiedorczyk.
The dream seemed impossible for this military family until their paths crossed with Ed and Jessica Coyner, owners of Signature Pools in Chesapeake.
“We know how much joy a pool brings to everybody that has one in their back yard,” said Coyner. “We have an opportunity of a lifetime to build one for someone who can really use it.”
For two years, the husband and wife team have worked to launch Backyard Haven, a non-profit that will build aqua therapy pools for the disabled.
Tyme will be the first to benefit from the program.
“With a pool, it creates buoyancy. The gravity is taken off, and she can move her legs, she can be free, and she can be open. That’s really where the therapy is going to come into play,” said Coyner.
“To put their arms around us, not even knowing us, and give us their donations, money and sponsorship to help make this happen, it’s very overwhelming,” said Fiedorczyk.
As for Tyme, she can’t wait for her new backyard haven.
“That’s going to be the hard part now, getting her out of the pool.”
Signature Pools is donating the labor and some of the materials, and Edward Gosman is doing the landscaping free of charge, but there are still some expenses not covered, like concrete, or the cost of the chair lift to get Tyme into the pool.
The pool is being built at the end of October, and the Coyners are hoping the community steps up to help before then.
So if you want to take action for this great organization, just go to Backyard Haven’s website to donate.