Every year since 2008, Rural Computer Consultants has picked a charitable organization to make a donation to for the holiday season. Susie Peterson, CEO at RCC remembers, “We got the idea from one of our Canadian customers, Edpro Energy, who would send us a bookmark each holiday season mentioning the donations they had made… Some years we chose the organization to donate it to by events that occurred during the year. Other years if there was no immediate contender we researched and found worthy causes.”
RCC Chose International Rett Syndrome Foundation this Year
This year, RCC has chosen the International Rett Syndrome Foundation, an organization that is near and dear to the Allen and Leslie Henslin family from Bird Island, MN. The Henslins have 3 kids – Bryce, 13, Brett, 11, and Lauren who is 7. Lauren was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome when she was six years old.
Rett syndrome (also called Rett disorder) is a rare neurodevelopmental disorder that affects brain growth and development. It starts in childhood, almost exclusively in girls. Its effects on brain development can lead to severe impairments, affecting muscle growth, walking, communication, and other areas of the child’s life.
How the Rett Syndrome Foundation Helps Families
Allen and Leslie held a “Raise your Glass” Virtual Gala this summer for the International Rett Syndrome Foundation and raised over $5000 for the organization! The Rett Syndrome Foundation is important to their family but also other families affected by Rett Syndrome worldwide since they provide trusted information and support. Leslie remembers when she first found the Foundation, “It was nice to get support from parent advocates who would reach out to me since they also had a daughter with Rett’s.” The Rett Syndrome Foundation also does trials and studies to help learn more about the disorder. Lauren was part of one of the studies, which took place at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare in the Twin Cities. Gillette is one of just 14 U.S. hospitals designated a Clinical Research Center of Excellence by the Rett Syndrome Foundation. The Henslins feel very fortunate to have a valuable resource like Gillette close to home.
What we Can all Learn from Lauren
Lauren has challenges but she also has an awesome support system through her family, school, and community. Her Mom, Leslie, explained that she is attending school in an inclusive classroom, “The teachers and staff are helping her feel comfortable in a regular classroom, and learn the daily skills of being in school.” Lauren stays busy with a full IEP including special ed, speech, and OT/PT that she does during the day. Mom pointed out, “Since Lauren is non-verbal, she has her own way of communicating. She is loud when she is happy and she is loud when she is unhappy!” Leslie explained that Lauren is not just learning at school, but she is also teaching, “All kids have something to offer, regardless of their disability or diagnosis. What we have heard from her teachers, is that her classmates learn a lot from being around Lauren. We have also seen this with our boys because they are so patient with her.”
“All kids have something to offer, regardless of their disability or diagnosis. What we have heard from her teachers, is that her classmates learn a lot from being around Lauren. We have also seen this with our boys because they are so patient with her.”
Happy Holidays from the RCC Team in Purple!
The team at Rural Computer Consultants was honored to get their picture taken with Lauren and her family to present the Rett Syndrome bookmarks and tell them about the donation to the International Rett Syndrome Foundation! Our team wore purple (the Rett Syndrome color) to show support for Lauren and her family and the strides they have taken to help other families affected by Rett Syndrome. Click here to learn more about the International Rett Syndrome Foundation or make a donation of your own.
RCC’s Bookmark Giving Campaign over the Years:
- 2008 – Caring Bridge
- 2009 – Caring Bridge
- 2010 – United Way
- 2011 – American Cancer Society
- 2012 – National Hospice Foundation
- 2013 – Ronald McDonald House
- 2014 – Kids Against Hunger (Stewart MN previously had a chapter)
- 2015 – Chase’s Warrior Foundation (the Sheehans great-nephew, Chase suffered from a near-drowning, now this foundation in his name provides needed equipment to other children in similar situations)
- 2016 – Lions Club International Foundation (in support of our founder, Brian Sheehan, and an organization he is extremely passionate about. Brian will be International President of Lions Club in 2022!)
- 2017 – Red Cross (there were natural disasters across the united states this year, hurricanes, wildfires, tornados, floods)
- 2018 – MRF/Melanoma Research Foundation (in honor of the wonderful young lady who was married to the Sheehan family’s nephew in WA state and died of Melanoma at a young age)
- 2019 – Hurricane Relief for the Islands (RCC has customers in the Bahamas and islands that were severely affected by the hurricanes this year)
- 2020 – St Jude’s Children’s Research (one of RCC developers lost his wife this year and this was a foundation she supported)
- 2021 – International Rett Syndrome Foundation (in honor of a local family, the Henslins, and their daughter who has Rett Syndrome)