|Early in my days as Deaf and Disabilities Ministries Coordinator, I heard about the McVickers. Ever since, I’ve wanted to interview them for Faith Journey. Amy and Jamey McVicker, of Cameron, Missouri, devote their time in public service, caring for their three children, and raising thousands of dollars for the disability community. We’re so grateful to them for sharing their reflections in this issue of TOGETHER.
-Lisa Wagner-Carollo, Deaf and Disabilities Ministries Coordinator
LISA: Could you please tell us about your family?
JAMEY AND AMY: Our Family: Jamey, Amy, Aiden, Avery, and Addison. We were high school sweethearts, walking the halls of Cameron High School. Married at St. Munchin Catholic Church in Cameron on May 23, 1998. Jamey has been a firefighter for St. Joseph, Missouri since 1999. Amy is the Human Resources manager for the City of Cameron, MO and has been there since 2004. Our first child, Aiden, was born with bilateral anophthalmia (no eyes) in 2001. Through the years, Aiden has developed more obstacles that have made his living more difficult in performing daily functions. Avery was born in 2004 and recently graduated from Cameron. Avery will be continuing her education at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph. She will also be playing on the Lady Griffon volleyball team. Addison, born in 2007, will be a Sophomore in Cameron High School. She is a three-sport athlete and enjoys being involved in school and the community.
L: How has your family life been challenged? What gifts have you received
J and A: Being young parents, God gave us the most precious gift- in a disguise- that we have shaped to bring more joy to the world. Aiden has shown us a whole new world and introduced us to the most amazing people that we probably would’ve never met had it not been for him! Our “dates” were usually doctor appointments or hospital stays from one of the 27 surgeries Aiden has had. Aiden developed scoliosis and had “growing rods” placed. He then was diagnosed with epilepsy and has seizures quite often. In 2008, we decided we wanted to do something to help other children and families that weren’t as fortunate as we had been and so we created The Aiden McVicker Charitable Fund. To date, the Charity has donated more than $156,000 to children for medical bills, therapies, adaptive equipment, assistive technology, and attendance to a school/conference. It also gives scholarships to graduating seniors going into a career field that would benefit a child with special needs. Finally, the Charity has helped build three inclusive playgrounds in Northwest Missouri. Aiden has shown our family, friends, and anyone that gets to know him how delicate and precious life is. His dependency on relationships has placed a value on trusting others that is so very moving. He has inspired so many people to live life to the fullest, love each other, and have the courage to be the best person God imagined them to be.
L: What advice would you give for nurturing a marriage when you have a special needs child?
J and A: There is no single recipe for a successful marriage while raising a child with special needs. Our relationship is firmly rooted in our love for God. He gives us the foundation or base to build everything from. There are difficult times. Times where one may be weak – but that is when we lean on each other. We both want the best quality of life for all of our children. If there is one thing that brings the stress down…it’s humor. Sharing a laugh and smile together does so much for our attitudes. Aiden has truly taught us more than we could ever teach him, which is one of the main reasons we created the Charity. Aiden has brought a balance to our family and has taught his sisters empathy, compassion, grace, and dignity. Things that we are so very proud of in our children.
L: Is there anything in particular you’d like to say about your faith life and this journey?
J and A: One of the mainstays through each and every obstacle and decision we have been faced with – has been our Faith. We have struggled greatly with trying to do what is best for Aiden and we always turn to our Faith that God will guide us to the right decision.