“It can be life changing. Branford’s grandfather creates frozen treat to help children with medical needs

BRAFORD – The Blanchette family love to take part in family outings to Chatfield Hollow, Hammonasset and the aquarium.

Over the years, it has been difficult to take full advantage of these excursions, as 11-year-old Patrick Blanchette gets tired easily from cerebral palsy.

Enter LoloWich, created to make life easier for families needing help with children facing medical and physical challenges.

Doug Rice of Branford created LoloWich in honor of his granddaughter, Loelle, affectionately known as Lolo.

“The goal was to support the community in which she lives,” says Rice.

This 9-year-old was born with CHARGE syndrome, which can cause a host of birth defects, including heart defects, breathing and swallowing problems, cleft lip and palate, and difficulty seeing, hearing and of speech.

LoloWich provides ice cream sandwiches, vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two chocolate chip cookies and rolled in rainbow chips or chocolate chips, to local restaurants and breweries including Stony Creek Brewery, Dockside Seafood and Grill, Branford; and Rose Orchards and Van Wilgen’s Garden Center, in North Branford.

All proceeds are intended to help the special needs community. Giveaways range from adaptive indoor and outdoor equipment, sensory accessories, nutritional supplies, communication devices, and financial assistance for a service or support animal.

To nominate a child, visit lolowich.com.

The Blanchette family of Branford experienced LoloWich’s generosity, with the donation of a metal platform that attaches to the back of the family car. It allows the transport of the electric wheelchair and the adapted bicycle of this student from Walsh Middle School.

“So, now we are able to carry his wheelchair on it,” says Katy Blanchette. “So that opened up a lot of new opportunities for him. Now when we go to the zoo or aquarium I don’t have to worry about him getting tired anymore because we can bring his wheelchair with us which is amazing.

“There is a ramp, so it can basically go up and then we can attach the wheelchair to it,” she adds.

This is exactly what Rice envisioned when he created LoloWich.

It’s a family affair, with Lolo’s mother Melissa Shepler and sister Kimberley Crowley working alongside their father.

Rice explains why he chose this specific product, made by The Royal Ice Cream Company in Manchester.

“The cookie doesn’t break when you bite it, ice cream doesn’t melt when you eat it,” says Rice. “It’s just perfect, perfect.”

The company’s slogan is “Life is Sweet”.

Shepler of Ellington knows firsthand how important this work is for families raising children with special needs, regardless of their diagnosis.

“There is so much equipment, there is so much education, there is so much learning,” she says.

“Therapy,” Rice chimes.

“It’s not cheap,” she adds. “It all comes at a cost and we all want the best for our children. “

Even something as simple as a device that helps a child with physical limitations play with toys like their peers can make all the difference.

Shepler talks about a light switch toy that was gifted to a family by a paraprofessional from the child’s school.

“With everything I do with her,” she said, Lolo by her side, “all the therapy, all the equipment, I’ve never heard of switch toys. So, it opened my eyes to something new that my daughter would totally benefit from.

Shepler explains that “you can take any kind of toy that works on batteries, on a switch, and plug in an adaptive switch. You press the button once and you can activate the toy just like you would if you were a typical kid.

She says Lolo can now play with his brothers, Weston, 7, and Walker, 4, with his Adaptive Nerf Pistol.

“All she has to do is flip the switch and walk away with her Nerf bullets,” she laughs.

Receiving the automotive platform has been as wonderful for the LoloWich team as it has been for the Blanchette family.

“They were so excited and they were more than happy to do this for us, so it was really special,” says Katy Blanchette.

Nominations for LoloWich’s generosity can come from family members, therapists, teachers, friends, neighbors, “Anyone who just wants someone to feel good, surprise them, relieve them.” for a minute, ”Crowley explains.

Rice choked when asked how it felt to know he was helping so many families. Crowley spoke.

“See what my sister, husband and family have been through and adapt every day, every week, every month to give Luella the best life – you want to give to others who understand the challenge of having a child. with special needs, ”she said. said.

Rice and Crowley agree that people are often reluctant to ask for help.

“I think it’s a matter of pride,” Rice says.

“It’s not based on your financial situation,” Crowley rings. “It’s not based on who has the most difficult situation. We just want to help anyone, be it something small like an iPad or sensory activity to a wheelchair or motorized scooter.

The Blanchette family is grateful for the gift.

“Most of the things associated with having a child with special needs cost two or three times as much as something for a typical developing child,” says Katy Blanchette.

“So taking that off our plate and not having to worry about this expense was huge for us,” she added. “It’s one less thing we have to worry about.”

For Rice, Crowley, and Shepler, that’s exactly what LoloWich is.

“It’s helping families, but it’s celebrating the child,” Shepler says. “It’s celebrating them for who they are for what they’ve accomplished and their uniqueness, so why not give them something that helps them thrive and makes them feel good about themselves.”

Katy Blanchette feels the same.

“It’s super hard to ask for help because I’m a helper myself, so it took a little while for me to be ready to accept this gift,” she says. “But, again, I did it for Patrick because in the end, he’s the one who benefits.”

“It relieves some of the burden, so I would just say, ‘Don’t be afraid to take help, to ask for help because that’s why, that’s what they’re trying to do. She adds. “They are really trying to help people.

“It can be life changing,” she added. “It can open so many new doors and opportunities for children. “

LoloWich, lolowichinfo@gmail.com; 860-614-3707; lolowich.com; Instagram lolowich_lifeissweet

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