|Christine Wyborn and her son, Philippe,
benefitted from and are benefitting Abilities United
Christine Wyborn and her husband moved to Belmont, CA where their first son, Philippe, was born at the end of 1969. Like all new parents, the Wyborns were overjoyed with their new-born son and looked forward to seeing him grow with each passing day. “When Philippe was born, he was fine,” reflects Christine, “However, at 15 months old, he started having seizures resulting in brain damage. He was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy.”
Though the diagnosis was devastating, Christine was determined to get the best services available and tirelessly located as many resources as possible. One doctor suggested that Philippe stay at home, an option Christine did not accept. Instead, Christine immediately enrolled Philippe in physical therapy, where he learned to crawl, then walk.
Three years later, Philippe’s baby brother, Shawn, was born. After a few months, Shawn too, was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and had seizures. She enrolled them in a school for children with Cerebral Palsy. But at the same time she fought the school district so the boys could attend the public school in San Bruno.
During the boys’ school years, Christine discovered Abilities United
. Phil and Shawn swam in the Abilities United
pool two times a week. They also had horseback riding therapy in Woodside twice a week. “Swimming enhanced their body coordination she says, “and riding strengthens balance for children with Cerebral Palsy.”
Philippe went on to junior high school in Foster City but Shawn died at the age of 14 during a seizure. Philippe was much more fortunate and his most severe and last seizure was at the age of 23.
After Philippe graduated from the San Bruno high school in 1992, Christine searched for a place where he could continue to develop his independent living and social skills. After evaluating several programs, they found Abilities United’s Adult Day Program, which he has attended ever since. “We all loved Abilities United right away,” she states.
Four years ago, at age 38, Philippe took the next step in his independence and moved out of his family’s home into a Foster City group home when the five other residents voted him in. Every weekday travels to Abilities United
via a van service.
Today, Christine’s biggest concern is to provide for Philippe’s future. In 2005, before her husband died, they created a trust. Christine states, “I want to give to a charity that is close to me. After Philippe’s needs are met by the trust, our home will go to Abilities United.
Based on a 2013 interview conducted by Carol Lillibridge. Written and edited by Wendy Kuehnl and Christine Wyborn.