By Sarah Te Slaa, Multimedia Producer/ Anchor - email
A group is raising money to build an addition onto the Vondrak's home so the girls have room to move around.
KINGSLEY, Iowa (KTIV) -
Polly pockets is the toy of choice for the three Vondrak girls.
The sister laugh and play together. They also share a unique trait. All three have Type 2 Spinal Muscular Atrophy or SMA.
The motor neurons that travel from the brain to the muscle, the communication, isn't there, so the muscles don't develop and they eventually die away," says Kari Vondrak, the girls' mother.
At seven-years-old, Kennedi is the oldest daughter. She was diagnosed when she was two.
"When we first found out about Kennedi, I was pretty devastated," says Jesse Vondrak, the girls' father.
And at that time, Kari was a month away from giving birth to their second daughter, Jayci.
Now five-years-old, Jayci also tested positive for SMA.
"It didn't get any easier with the other two," says Jesse. "You keep holding on to hope that at least one of them would be 'a healthy child.'
With a 25% chance their next child would be affected, the Vondraks debated on having more children.
"We thought there is not a possibility that this could happen and so we really weighed the options and what we determined was that we have two that are affected and it's not like we don't know what we are up against," says Kari.
Doctors tested their third daughter, Bentley, while Kari was pregnant.
She, too, had SMA.
"It was beneficial to know before hand, but it also made the rest of the pregnancy really long and the fact that she was our last one we knew that was going to be it," says Kari. "It was kind of a heartbreaking knowing 'OK, all three will be affected and this is the life that we are going to live."
"I still struggle with it today," says Jesse. "It's hard to see other families out with their kids, their kids out running around, and their dads out coaching their sports teams."
Confined to their wheelchairs, or 'cars' as they call them, the girls will never move like other kids. Their parents must do nearly everything for them.
"Overall the bond with my daughters and myself has grown a lot stronger," says Jesse.
The Vondrak's are a close family, but their home in Kingsley, Iowa can get pretty cramped.
"Right now all three girls share a bedroom and with their medical equipment and their chairs, it's just not enough space for all three of them at this point," says Kari.
So the Kingsley community is doing something about it. A group is raising money to build an addition onto the Vondrak's home so the girls have room to move around.
"It means a lot to me as a dad that people are willing to help a family," says Jesse.
It's a gift for a young family that's already been through so much.
"It's not about me. It's not about my wife. It's about my girls and that's my number one thing in life," says Jesse.
The benefit for the girls is Sunday, September 23rd. It's a breakfast and silent auction from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Kingsley Pierson High School. There will also be a bake sale and T-shirt for sale at the event.
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