Life Without Limits: A Family’s Determination To See Their Daughter Walk

In this episode, Carey Pena talks to Armando Contreras, the President & CEO of UCP National, and Corey Anne Lumen, an Ambassador Family for UCP of Central Arizona, about the mysterious medical condition that her daughter, Isabella, faced at a very young age.

The Lumen’s feared Isabella ‘Bella’ would never walk or talk, until they were advised to seek help from UCP of Central Arizona. Even though Bella’s doctor was reluctant, the Lumen’s persisted and sought a second opinion that has changed her life and her future.

Bella’s dad had been reassured by the pediatrician that everything was okay, but her mom was concerned that her daughter’s markers seemed delayed, and paranoid something was wrong. She just wasn’t hitting her growth benchmarks.

Overwhelmed and concerned, Corey Lumen kept pushing and finally got a referral to UCP. She wanted answers.

Through the evaluation at UCP, Lumen’s concerns were validated.

According to UCP President & CEO, Armando Contreras, “It is really important for families when they go through this initial process – an infant, not knowing that they are making their milestones, that they reach out to us (UCP)”. He goes on to explain that at UCP, ”the children are not just patients, they are family”. The staff at UCP are educated, experienced, and caring, and because of them, miracle stories happen.

UCP believes every child (person) should be “valued and respected”. They work with patients with Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Autism, Developmental Delays and Learning Disabilities.

Currently serving about 3,800 children, teens and adults with a variety of challenges, UCP of Central Arizona is doing a lot of groundbreaking work.

Contreras explains that at their early learning center, the children at UCP are integrated with “typical” kids, children society deems normal. Through this integration program, their young patients are able to start kindergarten more confident and meeting their milestones a lot quicker, and the “typical” kids involved in the integration program become advocates, standing up to the bullies.

This is a win-win for everyone.

At 18 months old, Bella Lumen became part of the UCP organization. She was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder which would affect her eating, speech, movement, and low muscle tone.

“Scary, obscure, and crippling.” their daughter’s diagnosis left this family in search of a miracle and afraid for her future.

UCP of Central Arizona provided the answers, treatment and support the Lumen family needed.

After years of treatment, struggles and encouragement, Bella met her running benchmark. Bella was almost 5 years old. This amazing victory brought tears, but it was a celebration.

How does UCP of Central Arizona create a culture where every person at UCP has value? According to Contreras, “it is through their underlying goal to build trust and effective communication”.

UCP focuses on who they are serving, and they share their stories of accomplishment.

Contreras also thanks the community for stepping up… in a big way.

For more than 30 years, Circle K has exemplified “true corporate responsibility” by raising millions of dollars through their canister collections and golf tournaments. Contreras says UCP is very grateful for that alliance. Their ongoing support has helped UCP grow, expand their programs, and see more children, teens and adults.

So what is Corey Lumen’s hope for her daughter in the future?

Lumen answers, “whatever her (Bella’s) goals are, we will give her the tools and resources to get there… we don’t like the word can’t.” Lumen feels that it is their job as her parents, and adds, “You will always find the strength”.

Corey Lumen wants to let other parents know not to hesitate to contact UCP if they have any concerns with their child’s growth. UCP is amazing… and you are not standing alone.

As a human being what we all want is to feel accepted explains Bella Lumen’s mom, and she feels blessed her family found UCP of Central Arizona.