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When Doug and Tina’s fourth son, Anthony, was born with muscular dystrophy, they faced new challenges as parents. “We didn’t know what to do,” Tina recalls. “We didn’t know what kind of life he could have. We had no idea how to parent a child who depended on a machine to breathe. Everything was unknown for us, but we knew we needed to learn how to help Anthony make his life complete, filled with love and happiness. That’s all that mattered to us.”
Doug didn’t know what muscular dystrophy would mean for his son. He didn’t know about trachs or feeding tubes or ventilators. He didn’t even know how much time he would get with Anthony. But he knew he loved his son and that he would do anything for him.
In the face of uncertainty, Doug became a rock for his wife and sons. “I remember one day in the hospital,” Tina shares, “I saw Doug watching Anthony with this look of such profound love in his eyes. I knew then that he was ready to make this work for Anthony and our family. I think about that moment sometimes. It was just a glimpse of Doug’s strength and the sacrifices he would make for us.”
When Anthony was finally ready to come home from the hospital, Doug became an expert on his medical needs (or the “Trach and G-Tube Hero,” as Tina calls him). He fearlessly jumped right in to learn all about Anthony’s care and still cares for him in a way that no one else can.
In the eighteen years since Anthony came home, Doug has continued to give everything for his son. He’s the shoulder to lean on during difficult times. He’s the silly, goofy guy who blasts Star Wars music through the house to make Anthony smile. He’s the personal stylist before prom and costume creator for all of Anthony’s plays. Every day, Doug is anything Anthony needs him to be. But most of all, he’s Dad.
Every father faces different challenges. But rising to those challenges with love and dedication is always at the heart of fatherhood. Today, we celebrate Doug and all the dads who do whatever it takes for their children.