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Kori C.

From Zoe to Kori and all of the incredible families in between

Any time a baby is born, the room is filled with a hushed silence – almost reverence.

When Kori Chambers came into the world, her presence immediately filled the hospital room with a sense of awe. Not just because of her birth, which was a miracle in itself, but because of what doctors and her family expected to come with it.

When her mother, Manika, was six months pregnant, she and her partner went to the obstetrician for a routine checkup. The ultrasound technician seemed to be slowing her movements and pausing to measure and check the screen. 

“I asked the tech if something was wrong, and she started asking questions like, ‘Is your family historically short?’, Manika recalled. “She said her legs and arms are not measuring in the range they should be for you to be as far along as you are. But the doctor will let you know.

“The doctor had us go in for measurements every two weeks, but she wasn’t growing. They started throwing out all of these different conditions – club feet and other disorders – and eventually, we did an amniocentesis. 

“The results from that led to her diagnosis of Osteogenesis Imperfecta, which I had never heard of. No one on either side of our family had it, which didn’t make sense because they said it was genetic, and neither of us were carriers of the gene. We went for a second opinion, and further testing confirmed it.”

Manika and her partner were floored.

“It caused a lot of dissension in the relationship – it was very depressing and hard. We went back to our doctors and they offered termination as an option. They were giving us worst-case scenarios, even telling us to have funeral arrangements in place for her.

“I had a doctor tell me that she wouldn’t look like a human. That gave me nightmares. I would dream and wake up screaming and sweating. But when Kori was born, she looked perfect. She was adorable.”

Kori was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta type 3, a rare genetic disorder that primarily affects bones. Type 3 is the most severe form in babies who don’t die as newborns. If you’ve followed Chive Charities at any point throughout our history, you’ve likely heard of OI from Zoe Lush, Isaiah Martin, or Hannah B. It’s a heartbreaking condition that’s truly unfair.

But from the moment her mother laid eyes on her, Kori was not defined by her diagnosis, but by the spirit she carried within her small, delicate frame.

Kori was born perfect in her own unique way. Her arrival was marked by astonishment from the medical staff, who were expecting visible deformities that never materialized. Instead, they found a beautiful baby girl with a full head of hair and a gaze that held their eyes.

From that day forward, Kori’s mother dedicated herself to providing her daughter with everything she needed to thrive.

As the first in her family to have this disorder, Kori's diagnosis was a journey into the unknown. Manika, however, was undeterred. 

“I knew I would do whatever it took for my daughter,” she said.

Today, Kori is six years old and a precocious only child. “It’s definitely all about her and whatever she wants to do,” laughed Manika.

Kori is exceptionally funny and loves to make up jokes. She’s also extremely compassionate, thinking about other people and checking in on them. She’s never known a stranger either. 

“That can be a bad thing sometimes, but we’re working on it,” said Manika.

Manika is a single mother and has been since Kori was a year old. She also juggled working full-time as a probation and parole officer for 10 years. They’ve been figuring it out together since the very beginning.

Despite frequent fractures and pain, Kori never complains. She faces each day with a bravery that inspires everyone around her.

However, as Kori grows, the practicalities of her care become increasingly complex. Her power wheelchair, essential for her mobility and independence, is hard to cart around on trips to therapy, medical appointments, and family outings. The family's current vehicle cannot accommodate the wheelchair, limiting their ability to travel and participate in activities that other families might take for granted.

This challenge is compounded by Kori’s mother's own health issues; diagnosed with spinal stenosis, lifting Kori is becoming increasingly difficult and dangerous.

An accessible vehicle would be a transformative gift for Kori and Manika. It would open up a world of possibilities, allowing Kori to attend school in person, participate in field trips, and engage in social activities with her peers. The simple joy of visiting family, going on vacations, or even attending local events would become easily attainable.

For Kori, who dislikes being in what she calls her "baby stroller," an accessible vehicle would mean dignity and independence.

Kori's mother dreams of the day when she can take her daughter on all the "mommy and me" adventures they've planned. Despite the diagnosis, despite the challenges, she has always encouraged Kori to believe that she can "do all things" and that she is "perfect just the way she is." This unwavering support has fostered a confidence in Kori that is as remarkable as her resilience.

And this week, thanks to donors like you, Chive Charities is able to make that dream a reality. 

With the support of your one-time and monthly donations through stories just like this one, we were able to purchase a white 2020 Chrysler Voyager for a total impact of $45,442. 

Make no mistake about it – this will be huge for them.

By helping to provide this accessible vehicle, you are not just giving Kori and her family a mode of transportation; you are giving them the means to dream bigger, reach farther, and embrace the full spectrum of life’s experiences. You are helping to make Kori’s world as expansive and vibrant as her spirit.

In the end, Kori's story is not just about overcoming obstacles; it's about celebrating the beauty and strength that lies within each of us. It's a reminder that with love, support, and a little bit of help, we can all achieve extraordinary things.

It doesn’t hurt to have a rockstar mom by your side either.

Thanks for all you’ve done to support families like Kori’s, and for being there for those we serve since we first introduced you to Zoe more than 12 years ago. 

Want to be part of more life-changing impact? We’d be glad to have you. You can either make a one-time donation or sign up for a monthly subscription starting at $10/month. Those funds will directly support a Veteran, first responder, military family, or individual with a rare medical diagnosis.

If you want to see what those contributions can do, look no further than Kori’s story (or any of the other 600+ we’ve shared since 2012). Thanks for being part of this with us. We can’t do it without you. DONATE HERE.

Kori C.'s Updates

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