Diane Edelglass had one wish for her three-year-old son with special needs this Christmas. She wanted him to be able to play outside with his two siblings at their home in Brandon. But without being able to walk and being completely blind, that has been out of the question since their lives changed forever two years ago.
“During the course of [his first birthday party] he fell into the deep end of our pool,” Edelglass said. “We had just moved into the house, so there wasn’t a pool gate up yet.”
Dante, just turning one, nearly drowned. He was rescued, but the damage was already done. Dante now lives with a brain injury that has left him blind.
“It’s something you never forget. We just started coming back into the backyard. It was just too hard,” Edelglass said.
This Christmas, they have something to smile about though. Edelglass wanted what’s called a “Jensen swing” for her son. It’s a swing made specifically for children with special needs, keeping them harnessed in and safe while they play.
Edelglass didn’t have the $500 needed to buy the swing, so she started a series of fundraisers and eventually raised the cash.
Then it came time to put the swing up. That was going to be even more money. Purchasing the lumber needed to build a structure sturdy enough wasn't cheap. Getting someone to come out and build the structure would be even more money. That’s when Joe Harville, owner of Stone Hard Pavers in Valrico, stepped in to help.
“We have special needs kids in my family and my wife’s family,” Harville said. “So we know how hard it can be for a single mom. We decided that he deserved a good Christmas and she could use the rest of the money for her other kids.”
Harville and his team not only built the structure needed for the swing, but they were able to get the lumber needed donated from Lowe’s.
The team’s giving didn’t stop there though. Edelglass knew she also needed a wheelchair ramp for the front of the house. She has been pushing Dante through dirt and gravel since the accident.
Harville and his team put down pavers, slopped the area for the family and even did some yard work, free of charge.
While this is now a Christmas to celebrate for a family that has lost so much, Edelglass just hopes other families learn from her son’s accident.
“Make sure you have a pool gate. This only took seconds. Not minutes. This happened in seconds. It took just seconds to change [my] life,” she said.
To learn more about Dante and his family and other ways you can help, visit his Facebook page at: Facebook.com/PrayersForDante .