When Christen Doane was 17 months old, her mother, Juanita Boyd, took her for a quick dinner at a local fast food restaurant, hoping to get back home in time to help her three older children with their homework. She ended up admitting her only daughter to Shands at the University of Florida for three months as a result of E. coli poisoning.
While she was in the hospital she suffered from a stroke, which left little Christen severely disabled.
Later that year, the Department of Children and Families took Christen from her mother, because they though that she was not fit to take care of four children, especially one who is handicapped. She was initially placed in a foster home, but her grandmother, Nancy Doane, adopted her.
Christen is now a paraplegic, confined to a wheelchair, and dependent on a feeding tube for sustenance, according to the Palatka Daily News. Her mother still visits her every day, and her grandmother takes great care of her. Nancy Doane receives a $304 disability check for Christen’s living costs, and Medicaid pays for her medication.
Local organizations have stepped in to help as well. The Church of God in Palatka has just installed a wheelchair ramp in their home. The People’s System branch of Developmental Services is expected to widen all their doors and put in a roll-in shower — anything to make their living conditions more wheelchair-friendly.
Christen, who will be 9 in May, attends E.H. Miller School in Palatka. Despite her condition, her grandmother says that they are "both really happy."