Illinois Center

TLC/The Therapy Center

image Xander

Xander, 4-year-old son of Amanda Smith from Metropolis, represents the children with special needs from southern Illinois on the 2019 Lions Club/WPSD Local 6 Telethon of Stars. Xander has Down Syndrome, chronic ear infections, respiratory issues and is non-verbal at this time. He truly demonstrates what can be achieved through love and therapy.

Xander came to Amanda through the foster care system when he was 2 years old. She said, "I fell in love the first time I laid eyes on Xander. I knew he was meant for me. I am so lucky to have him in my life. No matter what kind of day I'm having, I look at him and everything is OK."

Xander was very developmentally delayed when he came to Amanda. He was barely sitting up, drinking from a bottle, and only eating soft foods such as mashed potatoes, etc. He's made great developmental strides these past two years. He's walking, eating a regular diet, potty training, loves Mickey Mouse and plays with Tyler, his best friend.

Amanda says she wanted to share their story in hopes that someone else will open their heart and home to foster care and adoption for a child with special needs. She said, "Their life will be changed like my life was. They will be richer for it."