How Bear Essentials has helped this Island family overcome isolation

To say the Stuckenbergs are a busy family would be an understatement. Between their newborn son, Louis, two-year-old daughter, Sophie, and oldest child, Huxley, who is almost seven years old, Victoria parents Clarissa and Matt have their hands full.

As a bubbly and active kid, Huxley loves swinging as fast as possible outside and racing in his wheelchair. He adores going to school and interacting with his first grade classmates, meaning he misses school when he’s not there.

As a complex kid, Huxley has some complex needs that require extra care. Thankfully, Bear Essentials is there to lend a hand.

Huxley’s complex needs

Huxley was born just two days before his due date in 2014. Throughout Clarissa’s pregnancy, the umbilical cord was intermittently compressed. This caused Huxley to be born with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, a type of brain injury caused by restricted oxygen and blood flow.

Huxley was also born with cerebral palsy and dystonia. These health challenges affect him in every way, from speech and language to motor function. As a resilient little guy, Huxley’s determined spirit is clear in everything he does.

How Bear Essentials helps

For as long as Clarissa can remember, Huxley has never tolerated a car seat. This means that he must be transported lying down in the back seat while wearing a harness. As he quickly grew, it became no longer safe for Huxley to be transported in this way.

“His head and feet were touching both ends of the car, so we really needed an accessible vehicle. We got to the point that we weren’t able to transport him at all. Because he couldn’t come in the car with us, we were completely isolated as a family,” remembers Clarissa.

The family was not able to be together outside of their house, with Huxley needing to be at home all the time. And with the expensive cost of an accessible vehicle being out of reach for the family, Clarissa and Matt did not know where to turn.

Thanks to the support of Bear Essentials, the Stuckenberg family has been able to purchase an accessible vehicle that allows the family to be together. Now that Huxley can be safely transported, the family of five can once again be together to go on outings, whether that’s a simple trip to a doctor’s appointment or an outdoor adventure exploring the Island.

“Purchasing an accessible vehicle has opened up our world because we can transport Huxley anywhere safely. Our whole family fits now, because we couldn’t fit our two little kids and Huxley in our old car. Bear Essentials has been life changing for our family,” says Clarissa.

For the Stuckenberg family, being able to purchase an accessible vehicle through Bear Essentials has made all the difference.

You can help Island kids with complex needs like Huxley access the essential equipment they need. Will you help bring peace of mind to Island families by making a gift to the area of greatest need?

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Please note, the Bear Essentials program continues to evolve to positively impact as many families as possible. As a result, items funded may shift over time. The guidelines on our website are the best resource to learn what is currently covered. Bear Essentials is a program that must be accessed through a referring health care professional. If you have any questions about this program, feel free to connect with our team by emailing

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