Kent was an active family man, chef, and handyman—always on the go. On August 2, 2006, an auto accident left him with a spinal cord injury—paralyzed from the chest down. While Kent was away recovering for an entire year (in and out of hospitals and rehab facilities that were more than an hour away from home), his wife Nancy began to educate herself about living with paralysis. That is when she discovered Helping Hands.
"When Kent came home, we adjusted to our new ‘normal,’" says Nancy. "Days were filled with managing a staff of PCAs coming and going from our home and overseeing Kent’s care, appointments, and rehabilitation. When I brought up the idea of a service monkey, he was hesitant. He was worried that this would be something “extra” that might bring more challenges into our life. After months of reading and watching Helping Hands website videos, we decided to apply for the program."
On March 17, 2009, Farah joined the family.
"With time, education, humor, and lots of flexibility, our light has returned. Farah is the sparkling light that shines over our challenging world. Her sweetness, unpredictability, hugs, dedication, and daily surprises, continue to enhance our lives. From our morning hellos, to our afternoon family time, to our evening flirting and hooting exchanges—all I can say is that it is true love, from the heart of hearts. When we’re out and about, we find ourselves rushing home for our “family time” when the three of us can be together. Often times, when Kent and I have "alone" time with no PCAs and/or other distractions, we talk and laugh about our little girl and her funny antics. Like when she tries her best to nonchalantly groom our cat, Pete, until he realizes it's a MONKEY and not me and makes a run for it. Or when she climbs our apple tree (on a leash, of course), catching tasty ants or picking and bringing us apples.
When I see Kent and Farah together, I see a sparkle in Kent's eye that shows me the true love he and Farah share: the way she tilts her head and flirts, those little brown eyes looking so lovingly into his, and the way she brings him things he needs, like the phone or the remote.
Being part of the Helping Hands family is just that, a family. From day one, we have felt supported and cared for. Helping Hands was and continues to be here for us to answer any questions that might come up or to babysit Farah if the need arises.
I can’t tell you how much our lives have improved with the blessing of our little helper monkey, Farah. Where there was a darkness, there's now a light―a sparkling, small, funny, hyper, obedient, protesting, gentle, and unpredictable family friend―that’s our Farah!" -Nancy