A Journey of Hope and Healing: How Your Family Can Help a Brave Valley Kid

By Michelle Talsma Everson

Photos Courtesy of the Armer Foundation and the Burkhart family

Andrew Burkhart, 15, and his family haven’t always had an easy journey, but they’ve always had faith. Right after he was born, Andrew suffered a brain injury and developed cerebral palsy, a disorder that impacts his ability to move and maintain balance and posture. Then, two years ago, he was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder. Both conditions significantly impact his quality of life—but he keeps going strong.

When he was 4, his parents, Kellie and Andrew Burkhart, Sr., decided to take a leap of faith and treat Andrew with alternative medical treatments after experiencing dead ends with more traditional treatments. They saw results, but the alternative treatments must be paid for out-of-pocket, meaning the family must rely on the generosity of their community to continue to seek out medical care.

“Andrew has spent his life in an ongoing effort to improve his health and quality of life,” Kellie explains. “He has seen doctors and therapists of different types weekly his entire life… I wish that he could live a more typical life, but we are very grateful that these treatments have improved his health and for everyone who made these treatments happen financially.”

Andrew, who’s homeschooled, was recently chosen to be an “Armer Kid” by the Armer Foundation for Kids, which helps to collect tax deductible donations to pay for Andrew’s medical care. The foundation’s overall goal is, “To reduce financial barriers for families so that they can care for their children with chronic or life-altering diseases.”

“We are trying to raise around $10,000 to get Andrew to a world-renowned doctor in Washington who specializes in neurological disorders and make changes to our home that the doctor recommends making to make it a healthier environment for him,” Kellie says.

The Burkhart family shares their story on their blog (prayforandrew.wordpress.com/our-story) to keep the community updated on how Andrew is doing and their journey as a family. In addition, they manage a Facebook page (facebook.com/AndrewsAngels123) with more than 12,000 followers.

To learn more about Andrew and to donate to help with his medical expenses, visit armerfoundation.org/andrew.