SAN ANTONIO - Parents say raising a child is a rewarding experience but they'll also tell you it's a tough job. Parents of children with disabilities will say their job often is twice as hard, yet with double the rewards.
One San Antonio mother and son duo make anything seem possible when love is the foundation at home. Nora Gonzales's story first began when she was 18-years-old and 5 months pregnant.
Doctors first told her then there was something wrong, but terminating the baby was never an option for her.
"You hear a heartbeat and you're like whatever God gives you, he gives you and that's it," Gonzales said. Gonzales eventually gave birth to a boy with no arms and only partial legs.
"I didn't see all the missing parts. I just saw that he was perfect in his little face," she said.
Gonzales' son Xavier today is a senior at Wagner high school. His teachers will tell you that he's thriving and an all-around happy guy that motivates the other students with his determination to excel.
"If I ever need help, I ask. But that's not too, too often that I ask for help," Xavier Sanchez said.
Xavier may have been born with a disability, but that was never an excuse for him. His mom always pushed him to do things right like any other child.
"If he wrote messy that was going to go in the trash," Gonzales said. "I needed to teach him to be in the world. I'm not going to be here forever."
You can tell by his handwriting his mom made him practice. He's quite the artist too. Xavier's also very regimented with his workouts.
And as if all this wasn't impressive enough he played an integral part in assembling a computer at school.
"It was a great experience because we did it as a group," he said.
Gonzales said she never wanted her son treated any different.
"Can you grab this for me," she asked as she handed Xavier her cell phone. "As parents of special needs kids we have to lay the path for the next person coming through," she said.
"I understand why she pushed me so hard," Xavier said with a smile about his mom. "She's just always there for me. All around she's a great mom. She's always there for me," he said.
The Believe It Foundation is a local non-profit that sponsors kids like Xavier, to go to summer camp with typical kids.
The camp's founder, Andrew McAllister, started the organization eight years ago and it aims at building confidence in physically challenged kids.
Since being a part of the organization, those who know Xavier best said he has come out of his shell.
"He was a very shy individual, but I could tell from the moment I met him that he was gifted and that he just needed to find a way and an avenue that he could feel confident in to sort of uncap those gifts and he did that," McAllister said.
To learn more about the Believe It Foundation and what it does, click here.
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