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Serving Up Hope & Generosity

A Thrivent Action Team seeks to make life better for a boy with a genetic disorder

Hunter Schiling: Thrivent member

When Thrivent members Aaron and Tracy Schilling welcomed their son Hunter into the world, doctors told them Hunter had Isodicentric 15. The rare disorder, caused by extra genetic material, would create difficulties for him his whole life.

Hunter, now 8 years old, works every day to defy any challenges. With the help of a walker and leg braces, he began to walk and run by the age of 5. Therapy has helped develop Hunter’s coordination, vocabulary and social skills. He can also do tasks that doctors didn’t think he’d be capable of, such as feeding himself. Hunter enjoys life, loves school and has many friends who support him.

Only 1,000 people worldwide have been diagnosed with the same disorder as Hunter. For the first time in his life, Hunter was able to meet others with Isodicentric 15 at a 2013 international conference for families affected by the condition. The event was coincidentally held close to home for the Schillings, making the conference an answer to their prayers.

Families shared success stories, discussed treatment and therapy options, and learned about current research. The Schillings walked away with valuable insight from the conference and believed it to be a rich resource to further Hunter’s accomplishments and goals. They hoped to attend the event when it returned in 2015 to Orlando, Florida. Sadly, expenses stood in the way of making the trip possible.

Thrivent Financial representatives Tim Pederson and Tom Hughes sat down with the Schillings and learned about Isodicentric 15 and the international conference.

“Part of our job is to help our members thrive, so of course we wanted to do what we could to help,” Hughes said.

Pederson and Hughes told the Schillings about Thrivent Action Teams and, together, formed one of their own. The team quickly began preparing for a “Hope for Hunter” spaghetti dinner.

According to Tracy, she and her family felt “humbled and amazed” by the reaction of their community. About 300 people came to the dinner and helped raise more than $6,000 through donations and freewill offering. Thanks to the generosity of the Thrivent Action Team and everyone who attended the event, Hunter, his older brother and parents will be able to attend the conference at the end of July.

“I’m glad to know that Thrivent Action Teams exist to make these kinds of things happen,” Tracy said. “We are so thankful for everyone that made this opportunity possible for us.”


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