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New Armstrong County nonprofit spreads upbeat outlook

| Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012, 12:46 a.m.
Louis B. Ruediger
Scott Davis and Fred Neal III hold a photo of Neal’s daughter Reagan. The 4-year-old girl is the inspiration behind Reagan’s Journey Inc., a non-profit organization founded by Davis and Neal to help support area families caring for children with long term disabilities. Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times

KITTANNING – Scott Davis and Pastor Fred Neal III are spreading a message of hope.

As founders of a newly formed nonprofit organization, they are offering hope to families caring for children with long-term disabilities and have planned a fundraising event on Friday and Saturday at a local church to help families pay for medical expenses not covered by insurance.

The organization, called Reagan's Journey Inc., was inspired by Neal's 4-year-old daughter, Reagan.

Reagan, who was born on April 3, 2008, suffered a hypoxic brain injury and a brain bleed at birth. As a result, she faces significant developmental challenges and has the neurological function of a normal 5-month-old.

Neal, who lives in Kittanning, is campus pastor of Harvest Community Church in Petrolia Valley, Butler County. He said he and his wife, Kim, have seen their daughter progress significantly because of therapy. Although she is unable to speak, she is able to read and can communicate by pointing to letters and pictures on a page.

Neal said Reagan likes to hang out with her 12-year-old brother, Chase Anthony, and her 6-year-old sister, Reese.

“And she loves Ariel, The Little Mermaid,” Neal said. “We're collecting Ariel stuff these days,” he said, smiling.

Neal said his family received a lot of support from friends through the years and Reagan's struggle to overcome physical and mental challenges has brought the Neals in close proximity with other children going through similar struggles.

“Now we have a vision to help other families,” Neal said.

The organization is highlighting three other area children during its Mystery Dinner Theater fundraising event. Davis provided information about the children:

• McKenah and Josiah Keys, children of Joe and Shelly Keys, both have a very rare genetic condition called Multiple Pterygium Syndrome. Their condition means they will face a life time of therapies and surgeries.

• Nevaeh Green, daughter of Stephanie and Robert Green, weighed a little over 1 pound at birth and suffered bleeding on the brain which left permanent damage. She was diagnosed with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy.

Davis, who attends Harvest Community Church in West Kittanning, has been friends with Neal for a long time. He said his love of children and friendship with Neal sparked a desire in him to help co-found the nonprofit to offer support to families burdened by financial worries associated with the long term care of their special needs children.

Insurance plans don't always cover the cost of therapy, Davis said. Parents also worry about the future support system for their children if their children outlive them.

“Where do these children end up?” Davis asked.

He said that is just one of the worries he would like to alleviate one day through Reagan's Journey.

“We hope to set up trust funds, we want to take the burden off the parents,” said Davis.

Contributors to Reagan's Journey can choose the child they wish to support and 100 percent of the donations will go to the sponsored child.

Donations can be made to Reagan's Journey Inc., 249 Vine St., Kittanning, PA 16201 or 110 Mateer Drive, Kittanning, PA, 16201.

For more information call Scott Davis at 724 664-1478 or Cheryl Crabtree at 724-545-7134.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or bbeatty@tribweb.com.

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