Hope is on the Horizon…


Taegan McFarland at 3 Days Old

Taegan McFarland, on Ventilator at 3 Days Old

Her Name is Taegan Sage.

Taegan has had quite a journey, so far, beginning with her premature birth and month long NICU stay in 2004 and through present day. She has been a relentless fighter, overcoming numerous hurdles including several surgeries and multiple physical set-backs along the way.

August, 2016 marked the start of several new beginnings for Taegan. She began attending middle school in an essential skills classroom as a 6th grader. That includes lots of fun things like having a locker, and changing classrooms for choir, physical education, and art class. She is even participating in an essential skills cooking class once a week! Cooking is an activity that Taegan thoroughly enjoys.

Along with attending a new school, Taegan also began twenty five hours a week of intensive ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis)* therapy. She is making some wonderful gains with her social skills! We are looking forward to celebrating Taegan’s future achievements in the coming months.

Since her tethered spinal cord release surgery in the fall of 2012, Taegan has continued to work tirelessly in physical therapy, hoping to gain more functional use of her legs. During the summer of 2015, Taegan underwent another surgery, this one on her left lower leg. She had her Achilles’ tendon lengthened in an effort to reduce the spasticity (tightness) in her calf and ankle. While the surgery did afford her a bit more range of motion, it wasn’t as drastic of a change as we had hoped. She is still quite restricted in her foot and ankle movement. One positive however, is that her left leg brace is fitting much better post surgery, at least!  We’ve since started her on a medication that is supposed to help manage muscle spasticity. We have noticed that it is helping to loosen her tight trunk and hamstring muscles, but it is not having any effect on her calf or ankle muscles.

Through the generous donations of Taegan’s many earth Angels, she received 120 hours of life changing hyperbaric oxygen treatments (HBOT) in 2007 and 2008. Our blog posts from that time might be interesting for those who wish to read more about HBOT.  They can be found here:

Click here to watch a video about HBOT.  This video is produced by the center where Taegan did 40 hours of HBOT previously. The doctor featured on the video is Dr. Cole, who treated her at the Cole Center for Healing, in Cincinatti OH.
We witnessed the healing benefits of HBOT when Taegan was able to stand flat footed for the first time in her life after 10 hours of treatment! After completing 120 hours of HBOT, she no longer required the use of a right leg brace! It is our hope that we can provide further HBOT for Taegan in an effort to eliminate the problematic spasticity that continues to affect her left leg.

Thank you for being instrumental in impacting our daughter’s future. Become an Angel for Taegan by kindly donating through the PayPal button.

* Applied Behavior Analysis focuses on the principles that explain how learning takes place. Positive reinforcement is one such principle. When a behavior is followed by some sort of reward, the behavior is more likely to be repeated. Through decades of research, the field of behavior analysis has developed many techniques for increasing useful behaviors and reducing those that may cause harm or interfere with learning.
What are Taegan’s challenges?

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Taegan has been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, Spastic Diplegia, Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL) and Autism.

There are several types of Cerebral Palsy.  The type Taegan has (spastic diplegia) mainly affects her legs.  She has tight muscles in her legs, ankles, and feet which makes it difficult for her to walk.  She sometimes wears special braces to help with walking.  She can’t run, jump, hop or skip like other kids her age, but everyone is hopeful that one day she will!

How are Taegan’s conditions addressed?  What treatments does she undergo?

Michelle has researched Taegan’s conditions extensively and works closely with a variety of health care providers to determine the optimal treatment regimen.

Taegan has participated in several different types of therapies including physical, occupational, speech, music, cranial sacral, and hippotherapies.

Taegan at 11 years old

Taegan McFarland today (11 years old)

In addition to her therapy, several biomedical interventions have proved to be very helpful.  Taegan takes various vitamins, minerals and herbs, and received 120 hours of hyperbaric oxygen treatments between the ages of 4 and 8.  These treatments have greatly improved the muscle tightness in her legs, especially her left, and made it so that she no longer requires an orthotic brace on her right leg.

What about the Angels?

Taegan’s treatments are expensive, and so much is not covered by insurance!  That’s where the Angels come in.

The Angels for Taegan are just some (extra)ordinary people who know that each of us, in our way, can do things that make the world better.  Angels 4 Taegan not only give their time and talents to help make one little girl’s life as rich as it can be, but they also provide financial support.

Your support makes it possible for Taegan to receive the best care possible. Please consider making a donation today or attending the next fundraising event.  Thank you!