Grand Strand nonprofits merge to help people with disabilities

SOS expands care with merger

MURRELLS INLET, SC (WMBF) - There isn’t a part of the playground at Fuller Park that Adaya McDowell can’t handle, but it hasn’t always been that way.

“She suffered a life-changing event a little over four years ago," said Amanda McDowell, Adaya’s mother and founder of Adaya’s Gift of Hope, a nonprofit benefitting those with physical disabilities in the Grand Strand.

Adaya was a typical six-year-old when a virus sent her into cardiac arrest, and she suffered a traumatic brain injury.

“The little girl that we left with was a different one from the one we brought home," said Amanda McDowell. "She was ragdoll stage. She lost her ability to do everything.

The McDowell’s have spent the last four years rehabilitating Adaya to help her cognitive and physical ability.

Adaya’s made huge strides, but the equipment and physical therapy has been costly for the McDowell’s.

Now that they’ve come so far in the process, Amanda McDowell wanted to help other families going through it.

“That’s where Adaya’s Gift of Hope started out," she said. "We want to be able to give another child the gift of hope.”

The organization is now receiving a gift of its own; some help from a fellow local nonprofit.

SOS Care works with children and adults with autism and intellectual disabilities, but will soon expand with Adaya’s Gift of Hope to offer more help to local families.

One aspect of Adaya’s Gift of Hope is Adaya’s Closet, which has gently used equipment like wheelchairs, Hoyer lifts and gate trainers - things parents may suddenly need in a case like Adaya’s.

In order to receive more equipment, SOS Care announced this week it will take Adaya’s Gift of Hope under its umbrella and assist where needed.

“It’s sometimes easier as an established non-profit to be able to access that grant funding," said Sarah Pope, SOS Care CEO. "Our goal would be to be able to get some money for the program and start stockpiling some equipment for all the children in the community that need it.”

Pope says they’ve already started the application process for grants that Adaya’s Closet is suited for.

Amanda plans to oversee Adaya’s Closet and watch more children improve much as Adaya has.

“If we can help more, whatever it takes," she said.

SOS Care is asking people to let them know what kind of help they need and what equipment they’re looking for.

Pope says that kind of information is helpful when applying for grants.

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