When 7-year-old Arianna was brought to her new home for the first time, she pointed up at the night sky. “What’s that?” she asked. She was pointing at the moon.
Arianna had lived in a hospital since she was two years old. She suffers from a neuromuscular disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy, which is similar to Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Coming to live with Barbara Fischer was the first time she got to see the moon. It was also the first time she got to live in a comfortable and loving home.
Barbara Fischer of Stewartville, Minnesota has been a single mother to 14 children over the years, 10 of whom have had serious disabilities. Of all Barbara’s adopted children, Arianna and A.J. suffer from the most severe conditions.
9-year-old A.J. was born with a rare disorder called Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa. The disease makes his skin extremely fragile, like a “wet paper towel,” as Fischer describes it.
Arianna is fed through a tube and uses a ventilator to breathe. A.J. has several open wounds and welts, and must be wrapped in bandages every day to protect his skin.
What motivates Barbara Fischer to undertake such a difficult task? “I have been called a saint many times,” Barbara said. “And I tell people in reality I’m a little bit insane to do what I’ve done. It is my passion. That’s all I can say.”
Barbara receives help and support from her daughter, Joy Bartelt, and Joy’s husband. The state provides funding to the family to help care for the children.
Fischer has recently created a campaign to help raise money for a new van that will help her better transport Arriana and A.J. with their wheelchairs. A video (below) was also recently released that explains their needs and gives us a glimpse of what Arianna and A.J. experience in their daily lives.
Also, you can check out this documentary that has been created about A.J. and his rare condition. It’s called “Live Brave” and gives you a picture of what it’s like to live with E.B.
Both Arianna and A.J. have cheerful personalities and love going outside to stroll through the fresh air. Barbara Fischer has given them the opportunity to experience fun and joy, despite their disabilities. What a blessing she is in these children’s lives!
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