The Hunter Family
If you have a heart for the plight of single mothers raising children alone, this story will touch you. If you have a heart for Special Needs Kids, this story will touch you. If you have a heart for those affected by suicide, this story will touch you. If you have a heart, this story will touch you.
Let me introduce you to Kathy Hunter and her three sons, Shawn, Michael, and Zachary. Kathy has made Special Needs teaching her life’s work and kids with challenges have always been close to her heart. She works tirelessly on her boys’ behalf, and somehow manages to be tough, gentle, humble and determined all at the same time.
Shawn, the oldest just turned 27. He’s wheelchair bound and has dealt with complications from cerebral palsy since birth. He has a great sense of humor, and loves spending Sunday mornings at church where he enjoys singing loud and long. When Shawn’s foster care became untenable, Kathy and Jim were approached to become his guardians. They adopted him in 2003.
Michael is next oldest at 24, and the Hunters adopted him in 2004. He too has a good sense of humor. Most of the time, Michael displays a sweet, gentle spirit, though he’s been known to get a little bossy with his brothers and his mom from time to time. His face lights up when he receives a blessing or takes Communion at church. Michael’s special needs stem from Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, and the seizures resulting from it are becoming increasingly frequent.
Zach, at age 16, is the youngest child and was adopted by the Hunters in 2010. He suffers from autism, as well as cerebral palsy, and needs a wheelchair to get around. Zach is non-verbal, but loves to play math games on the I-pad. All three boys are loving and affectionate. Being around them as a family and seeing the fun they have together is heart-warming to behold. As their pastor, I feel a special joy having them in church.
But, last March, I got a phone call from a county case worker asking if I could come to the family home immediately because Kathy’s husband, Jim, had just died by suicide. When I arrived, the Sheriff’s Department and Coroner were still onsite tending to the awful scene in the backyard. Thankfully, Kathy and the boys had been in the house when Jim had decided to end his life.
Kathy is fiercely determined to provide for her family, and refuses to think of herself or her boys as victims. However, the salary of a public-school teacher in Utah does not go very far. As you might imagine, the challenges facing this family are enormous. Kathy, now a widow and single mother to three Special Needs boys, is often overwhelmed both emotionally and financially. Exhaustion these days is the norm. As school has started up again, Kathy spends all day teaching and then comes home and must attend to her three boys who require much care.
The Hunters have finally been able to move from the house with the terrible memories into a home, not too far away, that is much better suited for them. But, this may be a short-term fix. The owner of the house is eager to sell and as it stands, Kathy may not be ready to purchase the home any time soon. If she is unable to buy it, Kathy and the boys may be forced to move again. The logistics of such a move are daunting. Whenever wheelchairs, special equipment and medications needed by the boys get rearranged it is challenging.
The goal of this fund-raising effort is to raise $200,000 for Kathy Hunter and her boys. This will allow them to buy the house they just moved into and replace their old van that is on its last legs. Any funds left over will be used to make the new house more handicap accessible.