LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Saturday afternoon community leaders, educators and advocates came together to host a special needs health fair in Lufkin. Five-year-old Jade Whitley suffers from spastic cerebral palsy, a condition that impairs muscle coordination.
Jade's adoptive parents strive everyday to make her feel like everyone else but Jade can tell the difference.
"Why do I always have to be last?," said Jade.
Maxwell Whitley Jades father said, it breaks his heart every time he hears these words.
"There's a lot of money that is spent for all the children that can run,walk and play and there's a lot of children that can't do that," said Whitley.
He said it's a struggle raising a child with special need in East Texas. There just isn't enough resources available. On top of that, he said that most people may not realize the struggle for families, and he understands, because he didn't know what was needed until his daughter started school.
"The ramps and the curbs, they don't have the entrance for them to get onto them and they don't have automatic doors, " Whitley said.
Special need advocate Valli Cross understands the struggle and that's why she and others decided to hold the Special Needs Health Fair Saturday at Lufkin High.
"This is the very first one. There are often health fairs in the area but they are not specific to special needs," said Cross. "Everyone one of these venders are targeted to special needs families."
Whitley said when it comes to the classroom and playgrounds, he isn't asking for special treatment, just the resources and tools to make sure his child and others like her can learn to function in society.
"These children have hearts and minds. They want to be doctors and lawyers and they need the same opportunity as I," said Whitley. "Someone who can walk and talk and do."
Whitley and other were asked to take a survey at the event. Cross said the data collected is going to use as an information tool at upcoming town meeting.