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PROVO -- Tracey and Joel Christensen are the founders of "Now I Can," a physical therapy center for disabled children in Provo. The work being done there is phenomenal and is helping kids soar to new heights.
It's a very happy place, and it's just because of the people.
–- Kimberly Holmes
Kimberly Holmes' daughter Jessica attends the center.
"Every day I see little differences in her," Kimberly says. "Her confidence level - she's wanting to try new things. I think she's feeling a sense of self-worth in some of the things she's doing, and self-accomplishment. It's just a great place."
Tracey and Joel Christensen share in the joy of seeing Jessica progress. Their oldest daughter was born with hemiplegic cerebral palsy, which mostly affects the right side of her body. Some of the Christensen's biggest triumphs have come in seeing her reach her goals.
After years of seeing limited progress with physical therapy, the Christensens traveled to Poland where their daughter underwent a month of full-body, intense physical therapy. The results were so tremendous that the Christensens wanted to make the same therapy available to families in Utah.
Joel says, "We came up with the name ‘Now I Can' because our daughter was saying, ‘Now I can do this, now I can do that,' and these kids are the same way."
The Christensens started the non-profit organization four years ago. Since then, dozens of children have profited. Many leave the facility accomplishing things once thought to be impossible.
"It's been such a blessing," Joel says. "We've never had a family leave and say, ‘We didn't see any improvement.'"
Tracey says, "It's a miracle to be here and see these kids. They just want to do all the things that other children do, and some of them never will. But any amount of progress they can make is huge for them and their families."
Melanie Donahoo nominated the Christensens for a High 5. "When you get older, it's harder to find heroes. I would say from watching her I would definitely consider Tracey and Joel heroes for what they do, for the help that they bring to these kids, and for the passion they have for what they do."
Joel says, "I look at these kids and the work that they do and their determination. They're heroes to me with their example and the things that they do. We're just trying to do all we can to help them."
Tracey adds, "Sometimes things are challenging and sometimes things are hard. But when they or the parents say ‘thank you' and when you see the progress that's being made, it's worth it."
The Christensens are holding a benefit concert on Sept. 11 at the Scera Shell Outdoor Theatre in Orem. You can also help them win $100,000 in a Facebook contest. Just vote for "Now I Can" on the APX Gives Back page before next Saturday.
Our High 5 partner, Les Schwab, is sending the Christensen's a $100 gift certificate. Key Bank also is throwing in a $100 prize.
If you know someone who deserves a High 5, go to the link here.