A local 10-year-old recently stepped up to help a 3-year-old boy with mixed spastic cerebral palsy get a comfortable chair to sit in that his family’s insurance wouldn’t pay for.
Young Carson Langan has been dealing with myriad medical issues since he and his twin brother were born two months prematurely. Carson’s identical twin brother, Colton, died at 12 days old, and Carson required a lengthy hospital stay.
“He was in the NICU for 104 days,” said his mother, Kady Langan. “It’s been a difficult journey.”
Carson was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth, a degenerative nerve disease, before he was born.
“We knew he had a muscular disease,” she said. “His paternal grandmother and dad have it.”
His cerebral palsy affects all four of his limbs. He has a wheelchair, but it can be uncomfortable for him to sit in it for long periods, his mother said, so she usually just holds him. When he has a spasm, he arches his body back, she said. It can be a painful process for the boy.
“It can actually hurt your arms because he extends so much,” she said. “It’s very powerful.”
While searching for a way to allow her son to sit more comfortably, Langan came across a “pea pod” chair.
“You can actually relax in it, like a bean bag chair,” she said.
She requested that their insurance company cover the cost of the $1,800 chair, but her request was denied, despite letters from doctors and therapists saying the chair was medically necessary. Several appeals with documentation from Carson’s medical providers went nowhere. “We fought hard,” she said.
Last fall, as Carson’s third birthday was approaching, Langan posted on Facebook she would be having a race-car-themed birthday party for him and asked if any local racers could attend the party. It was shared and came to the attention of the mother of a local bandolero race car driver, Cole Dasenbrock. The two connected online and were struck by the similarities between Cole’s and Colton’s names.
“We bonded as moms,” she said. “We cried a couple times about it.”
Cole attended Carson’s third birthday, coming loaded down with a trophy and racing swag. He showed Carson his car and let him sit in it, which seemed to make him excited.
“I didn’t realize he couldn’t walk quite yet,” Cole said. “We showed him the car.”
The two hit it off, even though Cole isn’t usually fond of very young children.
“Normally I don’t specifically like little people, but him, he’s very fun to be around,” he said.
The two mothers were later discussing the denials for the pea pod chair and Langan asked Cole’s mom if her husband could build a chair for Carson. But the Dasenbrock family had other plans.
Every year, a racing helmet is auctioned off at the racing banquet held at Stateline. Each year, the most recent winner picks a charity that will benefit from the winning bid and the helmet is sold again. Last year, Cole’s father won the auction, so this year Cole was in charge of picking the charity. He was considering St. Jude’s when his mother reminded him about Carson.
“Then I just wanted to donate the money to Carson,” he said.
The helmet auction raised $1,900. Langan said her initial reaction when she was told that Cole wanted to donate the money to her son was that she couldn’t accept such a generous gift. But the Dasenbrock family insisted.
The pea pod had risen in price to $2,225, so Langan took the auction money plus $300 that had been donated to her by a member of her church.
“We had to pay $25 out of pocket,” she said.
Langan said it warms her heart to know there are such generous people out there, and that she’s grateful to the racing community for their assistance in getting her son’s chair.
“It’s really good to have the support of the community right now,” she said. “I want those kids who are part of the racing community to be acknowledged.”
Her son is delighted to have a comfortable spot to sit, she said.
“Now he can sit in his own chair,” she said. “He watches his favorite shows. He’s an old man at heart. He loves ‘Wheel of Fortune,’ ‘Jeopardy’ and ‘The Price is Right.’ ”
Cole said he’s glad Carson got his chair and hopes he’ll get a chance to see it.
“I’m kind of looking forward to it,” he said.
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