I’ll admit, when I first read this I thought of the huge ham radio tower my Dad put up on his 5 acres of land. But then as you continue reading you discover that this is simply a small pole, that isn’t going to be blocking anyone’s view and will be on private property. Whoa.

With all of the fundraising we have had to do and will most likely need to do again in the future to keep Parker alive my heart goes out to this family.

Can you imagine being afraid to go to a meeting because of all the anger there would be against you as you try to provide for your child?

What are your thoughts?

~Tammy and Parker

Reprinted with permission


Thirteen year old Alex Fitzgerald of Woodbine, MD was not born disabled. However at 15 months of age, he began to mysteriously undergo a series of neurological deterioration that has left him deaf, blind, and unable to walk or use his hands effectively. Doctors are baffled by the mysterious illness that, so far, has only been identified in one other child. At this time, there is no treatment or cure for Alex and future deterioration is uncertain.

Despite a normal IQ and participation in the general curriculum, it is unlikely that Alex will ever be able to live independently, due to his severe sensory and physical impairments.

As he grows older, it has also become increasingly difficult for his parents, Steve and Lauren, to care for him without any help. So when the family was approached by T-Mobile to lease a portion of their 10-acre property for a cellular antenna, they jumped on the opportunity, hoping to put the money into a fund for Alex’s future care and provide some immediate relief for things like respite care and modifications to their home.

“Alex is the most courageous, friendly, enthusiastic child I’ve ever seen,” said his mother. “I refuse to let him end up in a nursing home or some other facility. He has a bright future ahead of him, but will need a lot of assistance to live on his own. We worry about what will happen to Alex when we are gone or can no longer physically care for him ourselves.” Alex’s Castle, as they have come to refer to it, would provide a source of financial support for him well into his adulthood.

The moment word of the antenna made it to the neighbors; the community immediately began rallying against it.

It became clear that aesthetic concerns over what is supposed to be a stealth pole that will be completely hidden by trees, was more important than the quality of life of a neighborhood child.

Parents of his peers have gone so far as to circulate a petition in his middle school last week, in an attempt to stop the project. It was unclear if the school had knowledge of or had given permission for such a petition to be distributed during a school-sponsored event.

“The unfortunate part,” said Mrs. Fitzgerald, “is that people did this without first reaching out to me to find out about us and our family. They’ve just gone on a rampage with no information to back it up. It’s reckless and sad.”

Spearheading this protest is the Concerned Citizens of Western Howard County, a group of individuals who routinely oppose any new development on the western side of the county. Ironically, at least two of the members of the group are closely involved with the Maryland School for the Blind, a bit of hypocrisy that hasn’t gone unnoticed by his parents.

“It’s sad that we live in a community where people are only willing to make sacrifices on behalf of others when it is convenient for them or furthers their own agenda.” Meanwhile, the Fitzgeralds have been told that if the pole does not go onto their property, it will likely go to one of their neighboring properties.

Having lived in their home for sixteen years, the family has made many friends, all of whom are in support of them and the project.

“It’s the folks around here who don’t know us who are trying to hurt us,” stated Fitzgerald. “This pole will barely be visible, or at most, look like a skinny tree trunk. I guess in their minds, the hardship of having to look at a benign pole trumps the hardship that my son faces on a daily basis. We are only trying to provide our son with the life and future that he deserves; the kind of life that our neighbors with healthy children take for granted. Once upon a time, communities came together to help children like my son. It appears those days are gone.”

A pre-submission meeting for the project is scheduled for this Wednesday, April 7th at 7pm at the Glenwood Community Center. Anticipating a large degree of hostility toward the project, the family is still uncertain if they will attend.

You can also find Tammy and Parker hanging out at their other blog, Praying for Parker and on Twitter where they are known as ParkerMama