Shamir and Hailey are family. They may not have been born as family but after a hard start in life they are now members of the Northcutt family and have been given a chance in life to overcome obstacles and achieve goals that seemed impossible at birth.

Shamir was born on April 11, 2017, at only 26 weeks, weighing 1 lb., 7 oz. His first weeks of life in the NICU department at Greenville Memorial Hospital were touch and go. He was diagnosed with multiple conditions including cerebral palsy, chronic lung disease, and eye disease of prematurity. His doctors inserted a feeding tube, and he was placed on a ventilator. At 9 months old, he needed a trach inserted to allow him enough oxygen to live.

Shamir’s medical conditions were so severe that he spent the first 364 days of his life in the hospital. On his first birthday, his foster parents Richard and Nicole Northcutt brought him home to live with them and their two children, Talia and Ethan. Over the next year they attended multiple doctor and therapy appointments each week to allow Shamir to thrive as much as possible given the serious health conditions he faced. Eventually, he progressed enough to have the trach removed. After 1 year and 7 months Shamir was adopted, and the Northcutts became his forever family.

During this time, a therapist told the Northcutts about the Meyer Center and how Shamir might benefit from the services offered. At the age of 3, he began attending the Meyer Center, and his family was blown away at the advancements in his overall well-being. Through physical therapy, he is now able to walk unassisted while before he used a walker for mobility. He is also considered non-verbal but through hard work in speech therapy and with his communication device, he is communicating in ways that were never thought possible. He is learning his ABC’s, numbers, colors, and daily living routines. Shamir is happy, has a smile that can light up a room, and a laugh that is contagious.

Hailey was born in Columbia, SC on June 26, 2019, at 21 weeks, weighing less than 1 pound. The Northcutts were asked to foster her and get her the help she needed. She was an immediate fit for their family — they would now have 2 boys and 2 girls. Richard and Nicole recognized right away that Hailey would need just as much medical attention as Shamir. When she was born, she had a grade 4 brain bleed that required a shunt to be inserted in her head. In addition to the brain bleed, she suffered from numerous other conditions that affected her development: Retinopathy of prematurity eye disease, chronic lung disease, cerebral palsy, slow weight gain, developmental delay, and epileptic seizures. After 6 months of home therapies, Hailey started attending the Meyer Center. Immediately the family started to see major improvements in her development. She is taking steps with no assistance, singing nursery rhymes, and feeding herself with utensils. This once non-verbal child is now communicating in short sentences and has even begun potty training — which is a huge win!

By chance, Shamir and Hailey became family. The Northcutts took a chance when they decided to foster and adopt the pair. They also took a chance on the Meyer Center. They put their faith and hope for their children in the hands of teachers, therapists and nurses who strive to empower children with disabilities to reach their maximum potential. Shamir and Hailey are family.