Organization allows 13 year old Morgan Fuhrman to be

A Kid Again

By Chuck Gibson

LOVELAND, OH (September 2, 2021) – Morgan Fuhrman was born with a rare genetic disorder called Robert’s Syndrome 13 years ago. It robbed her of any chance to just be a kid like any other kid.

The physical disabilities wrought by the disease have rendered Morgan unable to walk, or sit up on her own. She is fed through a tube, will always wear diapers and blindness causes her to suffer Non-24 unable to distinguish the difference between night and day. She sleeps all day and is up all night. Her older brother Jordan passed away from the same disorder at age 16. Family life for Kathy and David Fuhrman is disrupted at best. Morgan’s older sister Reagan never had a chance to be a kid either. That’s where the organization A Kid Again gives hope to the Fuhrman’s and other families like theirs. The Fuhrman family was recently honored as a VIP Guest at A Kid Again Gala.

Dave, Reagan, Morgan in arms of Kathy Fuhrman at A Kid Again Gala (Photo Porvided)

“The Fuhrman’s were part of our national event we had at Kings Island,” said Nick Wagner, Executive Director for A Kid Again. “The Fuhrman story is such a compelling story.”

We’ll get to their story in a minute. First the story of A Kid Again is pretty compelling on its own. They bring families like the Fuhrman family hope through adventure events for families with children suffering from life-threatening conditions. Trips to amusement parks, the zoo, or even a “virtual” magic show offer a break and fun times for the families once every month. A Kid Again was founded 26 years ago originally as a supplement to some of the “Wish” organizations (Like “Make-A-Wish”).

A Kid Again’s Nick Wagner (far right) with Kathy Fuhrman and Morgan Fuhrman (Chuck Gibson)

“Our original name was Adventures for Wish Kids; so kids who would go on those big trips to Disney World, or meet a celebrity,” Wagner explained. “Our founder Jeffrey Damron, his thought was: what happens after that wish? What support do families have after?”

Their goal is to provide consistent opportunities for families to connect with their family and other families going through similar situations. The stated mission for A Kid Again is: to foster hope, happiness and healing for families facing this financial strain by providing year-round, cost-free activities designed to take their minds off their daily challenges while creating happy memories. That’s how it started 26 years ago in Columbus. The Cincinnati chapter started 21 years ago. The Fuhrman story began about 28 years ago.

Watch  the Fuhrman’s story here on video as told by Kathy Fuhrman. It is truly a most compelling story. I met with Kathy and Morgan Fuhrman along with A Kid Again Executive Director Nick Wagner personally to hear first-hand their story.

When I met Morgan, she was asleep in a baby stroller being pushed by her mother Kathy. It was not the way I expected to see a teenage girl. Her mother began telling me the story of her tiny little girl curled up asleep in the stroller; her body clearly ravaged by the effects of Robert’s Syndrome. Hers is a tale of woe that tugs hard at the heart strings of anyone who hears it. It starts with her firstborn son Jordan who passed away at age 16 from the same genetic disorder.

“Robert’s Syndrome is a rare genetic disorder,” said Kathy. “There are about 115 cases in the entire world. My Jordan was number 62, Morgan is like 112.”

Kathy Fuhrman was an 18 year old fresh out of high school when she gave birth to Jordan. The doctors and medical staff did not know what was wrong when they delivered the baby boy C-Section with Kathy fully asleep.

“We didn’t know with Jordan. I was 18, fresh out of high school,” Kathy explained. “He was very tiny when he was born. He was born full term. He was only 3 pounds and 12 inches long.”

Kathy Fuhrman tends to Morgan Fuhrman – 13 years old in the stroller suffering from Robert’s Syndrome (Chuck Gibson)

Prior to her giving birth, no one knew there was anything wrong with Jordan. They only knew Kathy was very sick –really bad morning sickness throughout her pregnancy. After delivering the baby, doctors thought he had a different disorder. They went in to see Kathy as she awakened.

“They didn’t even tell me if I had a boy or a girl,” Kathy said. “They basically said he was not going to live to see his 1st birthday if he even lived through the night. That’s how I found out I had a boy. I was 18 and my son I just found out was going to die.”

Jordy, as she refers to him saw his diagnosis changed a lot- in fact three different diagnoses – before they “settled on” the diagnosis of Robert’s Syndrome.

He had intrauterine growth restriction which Morgan also suffered accounting for their tiny size. Both had club hands, club feet, and congenital glaucoma, missing bones in their arms and a cleft palate. Jordan could sit up, eat some regular food, and could speak some words, but not sentences and was in diapers his entire life.

Fast forward with her (Morgan) technology was so much better,” explained Kathy. “When I was 6-months pregnant, I had an amniocentesis. They were pretty positive she had Robert’s as well. I was given the opportunity to carry her to term or stop the pregnancy. I decided this is what was chosen for us.”

A lot of her family members were not happy with her decision. Carrying baby Morgan to full term birth was the choice she made. Kathy knew there would be problems. Those problems turned out to be more challenging than what the family had already been through with Jordan.

“Morgan is a lot more severe than Jordan ever was because Morgan’s brain is totally flat,” Kathy said. “She doesn’t talk. She makes noises. She talks; we just don’t listen the way she wants us to. She can’t sit up on her own. The point is Jordan was born sick. That’s all I know. I probably couldn’t take care of a neuro-typical child. I’ve been changing diapers for 28 years. Jordan passed away. I know Morgan’s probably going to pass away too. I know that.”

The Fuhrman Family during A Kid Again adventure with Nick Wagner and Amanda from A Kid Again (Provided)

Borrowed time is what Kathy Fuhrman calls it for her daughter Morgan. She recognizes the real possibility that time to make lasting good memories is very short. The disease stole any opportunity for normal family adventures. A Kid Again gives back those opportunities. It’s the reason she wants to share the story of A Kid Again bringing adventures and hope to other families just like the Fuhrmans.

“Morgan is just who she is; she loves her Kings Island,” said Kathy. “There’s no end in sight, it’s like a snowball effect. If you can just get that one little stopper, that one little break; that’s A Kid Again. That’s exactly what it’s there for.”

Giving families a break from the endless hospital stays and endless strain on family routine, is what Kathy Fuhrman believes inspires Nick Wagner and A Kid Again to create adventure events at no cost for the whole family. Even the virtual – sitting in their home watching a magician on the computer screen – events during COVID shut down were a chance to catch a breath for families served by A Kid Again. Isolation was not new for families like the Fuhrman’s. That’s the world they live in all the time.

“I guess my thing is people taking things for granted,” Kathy explained. “A kid just being able to go outside and play baseball, a kid riding a roller coaster, heck a kid getting on their computer and playing; if you take the time to learn what A Kid Again is, maybe you won’t take them playing computer games for granted. Maybe you can understand how important A Kid Again is for families like ours. If you can take the opportunity to maybe help, then you are doing something.”

A Kid Again started out as “Adventures for Wish Kids” and even though the name has changed the mission remains giving hope to these families through adventure events.

“The idea is consistent. We offer something every month for our participating families,” said Nick Wagner. “When they’re able to and want to, we are there when they need it. Families are not required to come every month.”

Before A Kid Again, families lived with calendars filled with doctor appointments, therapy appointments and hospital stays. It is heartbreaking, stress-filled way to live. With A Kid Again, families find themselves looking forward to seeing a date on their calendar filled with adventure the whole family can enjoy.

A Kid Again adventure (Provided)

“Before joining A Kid Again, it was at the calendar looking at appointments.” Wagner explained. “That’s what they had on their calendar and they were counting down to the next appointment. Now, they’re counting down to A Kid Again adventure.”

Not just for the child who is sick whatever the life-threatening condition may be, but also for the siblings and the parents, A Kid Again really is an opportunity to have that fun; to be a kid again. It is an opportunity for the whole family to meet other families going through the same difficulties. A Kid Again adventures give the parents and siblings a chance to make connections with other people who “get it”, who understand the isolation and looking for that moment to just catch their breath.

“They all come together and just have an experience where no one else understands,” said Wagner. “Those other families; they get it. They know the struggles, the financial struggles, being in the hospital, the emotional stress, a diagnosis from early diagnosis to all aspects of it.”

A Kid Again makes a difference for these families. The adventures truly bring hope and a memory for people like the Fuhrman’s with limited time to make happy memories with their sick child. Every opportunity to make a memory is special for these families who don’t have many opportunities to make a memory. It is especially true for the Fuhrman’s who already lost a child – every memory is special.

“We do take it as an opportunity to create those memories and A Kid Again helps us do that and be able to hold those dear,” said Kathy Fuhrman. “We don’t know how many memories we can make. We’re on borrowed time.”

A KID AGAIN – Bringing Joy-Full Adventures to Special Families.

Nick Wagner said people frequently ask how they can help: “We want to help as many families as we can,” Wagner said. “The goal would be to give every child in America the opportunity to come to A Kid Again adventure. That’s what we’re working toward.”

  • Financial donations
  • Volunteer opportunities
  • Make connections for adventures
  • Share a cool adventure idea they can use
  • Referring another family in need of help

There are currently six staffed chapters including Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, Indiana, Philadelphia and Charlotte, N.C. – They also service families in Kentucky and Michigan.

Learn more about A Kid Again, how they help and how you can help by visiting online at: www.aKidagain.org.