A special needs diagnosis is a life-changing moment that signals a long but rewarding road of challenges and victories alike. Brian Wulf knows this all too well. As the father of two sons who live with rare disorders and multiple disabilities, Brian has chosen to dedicate the rest of his life to sharing the deep things he has learned as a dad to special needs children, as well as encourage, empower and help others through life challenges that are often overwhelming and confusing. As the Executive Director of Empowering Hands for Life, he is able to do just that.
Shortly after birth, Brian’s youngest son Matthew, one of his inspirations for Empowering Hands for Life, was diagnosed with a rare disease called Zellweger’s Syndrome, which made him deaf, blind and mentally impaired, and gave him six months or less to live. After careful research, Brian and his wife Joyce brought Matthew to see a specialist in Spain and she began working with him when he was just 4 months old.
The specialist’s medical approach helped Matthew, and as he progressed, he even started regaining functional use of his hearing and vision. In 2016, Brian and Joyce celebrated Matthew’s high-school graduation with a 4.0 GPA and publication of a book that chronicles his growing up with a rare disease and disabilities.
He is also the proud composer of over 40 intricate pieces of classical music, many of which can be heard on his YouTube channel. His zest and love of life have made a deep impact on many people, and his greatest hope in life is that he can contribute things of meaning to his community, and show that people with disabilities, diseases and even short lives have something of value to contribute to society.
Empowering Hands for Life is currently in its fourth year of operation and growing fast with community programs, support groups, individual services, and more that support the special needs community, as well as plans to expand its offerings. In order to do that, they need your support.
If you’re interested in making a difference in the special needs community of Charlotte, connect with Empowering Hands for Life to learn about how you can get involved. Whether it’s becoming a volunteer or attending one of their events, there are plenty of ways to join their mission.
In closing, I want to leave you all with a personal statement from Brian, in the hopes you finish this article as inspired as I was leaving my interview with Brian and his team.
“The ability to tell my sons' stories as a way to show the meaningfulness of their lives encourages others to see the value in their own experiences. It's not about who we are, it's about what we do with what we've been given, where we take it, and who we can share it with. It’s about taking an ordinary life and transforming it into an extraordinary life experience.”
DID YOU KNOW: Empowering Hands for Life is in the running to win $5K this month thanks to Amy and Brian France Foundation who have partnered with SHARE Charlotte for this year’s Spotlight Series and YOU can help when you VOTE NOW! You can also check out the other organizations eligible to win this month’s prize, here!
BONUS GOOD: Empowering Hands for Life has just released their first edition of their new online magazine! Check it out here.