Doctors never thought that Michael Taurozzi would reach 18 years old. Michael had a stroke while still in his mother’s womb and has limited or no speech, vision or mobility. When he was five or six, his father, John Taurozzi, recalls, “it was very difficult to give him what he needed because we got to a point where it was very difficult to feed him.”
His grandmother, Elaine Brunner, recalls that, “it was hard on the whole family because he needed so much attention and care. There were two sisters, one older and one younger, and they were limited as to where they could go and when they could go. He was getting bigger, but he still needed the care like a three-month old.”
The family decided that “ having him in a full-time facility was the only choice,” says John. “We did a tremendous amount of research on facilities, and we came to the conclusion that it was Matheny all the way.”
Michael was admitted as a resident in May 2000 when he was six years old. “It was a hard decision,” adds his mother, Janice. “You still think about it every day – ‘Did I do the right thing?’ But when you come to choosing Matheny, you know you did the right thing. From the aides to the nurses to the therapists, everybody here is just amazing.” Michael’s grandfather, Jack Brunner, remembers the first time he and his wife were at Matheny. “We left with tears in our eyes and our heart pounding,” he says, “but since then we’ve realized this is the best place he could possibly be.”
For more of Michael’s story, watch for our Annual Appeal brochure in the mail this month.
Above: Michael with, from left, grandfather Jack Brunner; father John Taurozzi and grandmother Elaine Brunner.