e were honored by this testimonial from a dear friend of Boyer’s, Vivian Armstrong. Her son, Frankie Hogan II, received services in the 1980s, and her connection, passion, and gratitude for Boyer remain strong, almost three decades later. Thank you, Vivian, for taking the time to share your heartfelt and inspiring story!
“My son, Frankie, was diagnosed with developmental delays at the age of eight months, and I was told he would never talk or be able to walk. But in the back of my mind, I wasn’t accepting what they were telling me. I didn’t know what to do, or where to turn for help because I felt I was alone in this. I was overwhelmed. I was tired of going to so many doctors and not getting direct answers.
I remember talking to a friend about how Frankie was doing, and telling her that we needed a speech therapist and a physical therapist to help with Frankie’s motor skills, and she told me about Boyer Children’s Clinic. I hesitated to call for a week or so, but I finally reached out. I spoke to someone really kind who helped me find the services Frankie needed. I had such mixed feelings when I got that first appointment: I was scared because I thought that they wouldn’t be able to help him, but I was also happy because at least I had had some direction and a place to go. But the good news was, they were able to help us.
After telling them my history with Frankie, I met two wonderful women: Carolyn Kates, who became his Physical Therapist, and Denise Swanson, who became his Teacher. They were both incredibly understanding, patient, and helped connect us to so many different resources. I’m in tears as I write this now, because I feel in my heart that if it didn’t start out with these two wonderful women at Boyer, my son wouldn’t be where he is today. Carolyn and Denise may have felt that they were just doing their job and that they did very little, but they did more than just a little. They gave me hope.
Before I walked into the clinic I felt hopeless, but by the time I walked out they made me feel all things were possible. Carolyn first taught Frankie how to crawl, then they made braces for his shoes every 3-4 months, and finally he began to walk. The doctors said he wouldn’t, but he did. Denise taught him how to interact with other kids. They played games, did arts and crafts, had snacks, and learned songs. When Frankie finally turned three and it was time for him to “graduate,” I once again started to feel scared because I was so comfortable at Boyer. But they lead me in the right direction and he did well.
Now Frankie is 30 years old, and has grown up to be a loving, happy, helpful, respectful, kind, generous young man who is always smiling and sees no wrong in anyone. He’s a part of the Special Olympic team and made it to the 2018 Special Olympics in Seattle. He ran the 50m dash, winning a Gold medal, and the Ball Throw, winning Silver. I was thrilled by his accomplishments, but he didn’t care about the medals; he just loved the running. For a child that was never supposed to walk, to then win a Gold medal in the 50 yard dash…I am so proud of how hard my son has worked, and how far he has come.
If it weren’t for the team at Boyer, I don’t know where Frankie would be now with his physical abilities and social skills. I think our family would have been lost in the system, not knowing which way to go. So for all of the parents, grandparents, single moms/dads, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, and caregivers who are reading this: don’t give up hope. You might wonder, “why me,” but to that I say, “why not you?” I believe in my heart that God gives us the strength, and while there are days you might feel overwhelmed, don’t give up. I’m so happy that God blessed me with Frankie, and I’m so grateful to Boyer for helping to guide us along in our journey.”
-Vivian Armstrong (Frankie’s mom)