“To Whom it may concern,
I am writing this letter in support of the need for hyperbaric services for damaged children that has been uncovered by the generosity of Mark Fowler and his family.
The Fowler family did not start out to provide 2,500-3,500 low pressure hyperbaric services a year for the past 4 years. They started with hyperbaric chambers to benefit their grandson but soon it spread to other local families with damaged children. Because they understood first hand the pain of having a damaged Child, and because they knew first hand what a hyperbaric chamber can do for a damaged child, and by extension the child’s entire family… they couldn’t say ‘No’ to anyone who requested help.
What started as an attempt to take care of their own grandchild and then expanded to a few local families who were also trying to find effective treatment for their own damaged children, has grown into a service that attracts families from all over the US and the world.
Each local child that comes to the Fowlers for hyperbaric sessions is scheduled for 2 months of services. During this time, they use the chamber 1 time a day, 5 days a week. Each out-of-town child is scheduled for 1 month of services 2 times a day, 5 days a week. The Fowlers not only open their house, they pay for most, if not all, associated expenses and are home to assist people in and out of the chambers, making sure everything is operating as it should be.
I volunteer in their home assisting individuals and families in and out of the 2 hyperbaric chambers the Fowlers generously keep in their living room, in exchange for my own time in the chambers. I was a licensed clinical psychologist for many years before I was damaged and forced to retire as a disabled person who could neither provide therapeutic services for clients, nor support my family.
Through their efforts for over the 4 years, Mark and his family have shown there is an unanswered need for low pressure hyperbaric treatment. The hyperbaric services they provide expanded because of need, not promotion. It is time for free low pressure hyperbaric treatment for damaged children to take the next step from the Fowlers living-room to a center where more people can be served and more services can be provided. The emotional, financial, and physical toll these children take on their parents, and families, is enormous. There can be nothing better then helping these children become ‘the best” that they can be, in the words of US Army. Mark has story after story of children who are now back in school, ready to become productive members of our world.
As a result of my time there, I can give some examples of the absolutely miraculous changes I have seen, but if you really want a flavor of miraculous improvement, sit down with Mark or Betsy for an hour or two. As for me, I’m still a work in process.
One boy, a 6 year old autistic boy, came into the Fowler’s house. It was his first day and he was terrified as only an autistic child can be. He ran back and forth in the hallway, screaming, avoiding everyone. From my professional experience he was reacting to a new situation in the way one would expect an autistic child to respond, and I expected this behavior to continue for the rest of the month.
Autistic children have great difficulty adapting to change of any kind, including new experiences, and they have tremendous difficulty relating to people. The first morning the father had to physically wrestle him into the chamber. I heard his father say that the boy spoke very few words, and none around strangers. After about 30 sessions he was a completely different child. I watched him calm down after the first few sessions. Soon he was helping with the preparation for his entry into the chamber. He came in to the living room quietly, got his oxygen breathing tube out of the container that holds all the tubes that are currently being used. He would get the pillows and bags of activities he and his father brought with them to keep them entertained during their hour in the chamber and hand them to his father and to me, still a stranger. I watched the progress this child made, In awe, knowing from my own practice how ‘impossible’ It was. Then during his last week he approached me with a toy car and told me it was his. His father reported that the boy’s speech therapist was amazed at the explosion of new language coming from the boy. He was not only using many new words appropriately, he was making sentences and expressing thoughts and ideas for the first time. His father would say, I didn’t know he thought this, or understood this, or felt this…. When I looked in his eyes I saw a really bright child who had never had the ability to communicate his thoughts to anyone. His father was extremely pleased. The few hyperbaric sessions had vaulted his son to a higher level of functioning, taking pressure off everyone. His family no longer had to guess what he wanted and they avoided the conflict that occurs when they guessed wrong, when the child could only display his displeasure by throwing a fit. I thought to myself, “Thirty sessions to the beginnings of a new life for this boy and his family, imagine who he could be if he could get more as needed”.
Another child, a girl around 4 years old came to the Fowlers with a diagnosis of cerebral palsy. I have learned that cerebral palsy is the diagnosis for any central nervous system malfunction that has no other explanation, and occurs from some time before birth to about 2 years of age. This little girl had spastic muscles, little vocabulary and no movement below the waist. By the end of 30+ sessions her mother reported she was more interested in her world, more imaginative, her muscles were more relaxed, and she was able to hit the button to turn on her portable dvd player. She tried to turn pages in a book and she could use muscles in the lower part of her body to attempt to stand and walk. She had begun to change in ways that other therapies had not been able to accomplish. Again, 30 sessions to the beginnings of a new life for this girl and her family…. Imagine who she could be if she could get more if needed.
I will mention one other child, a 14 month old boy. His skull had been hurt in utero In a car accident and he had been delivered by emergency C-section. At 14 months he barely moved. When he came to the Fowler’s he would stay in one position for hours without moving or crying. He could not hold himself up even with support. As he began the treatments, changes occurred quickly. He began to hear and paid attention to sounds which his parents say he never did before. He paid attention to faces and could smile and laugh in response. Now he can sit up with support and will move himself around the floor. It will be interesting to see how far he will progress. In each of these stories there has been a dramatic change after approximately 30 sessions.
None of these children have shown that they have reached full benefit from hyperbaric treatment. As It stands now, the need is so great, and their time at the Fowler’s is so short in comparison. These children may not be able to “be all that they can be” due to a lack of free services. The Fowlers and the children need your help. It is time for the more financially fortunate to step up, answer the need, and make the low pressure hyperbaric center the Fowlers envision a reality. For information on how you or your organization can help, please contact Mark Fowler at (727) 866-9047.” — David C. Diffendale, Ph.D.