Kannaway proudly supports ECHO, a non-profit organization that makes a powerful impact in the lives of special needs families largely through the incredible donations given by Kannaway’s generous family of Brand Ambassadors. Over the years, Kannaway has contributed more than $2 million in health-supporting cannabidiol (CBD) products that have gone on to help more than 150 ECHO families.
One of those families is the Riveras of Las Vegas, Nevada. Today, we’d like to introduce you to seven-year-old Marco Rivera and his loving and dedicated parents, Jose and Juana.
The Riveras are one of the original 5 families that have received support since ECHO was founded. They have been a part of the sponsorship program for roughly six years, since Marco was about 1 ½ years old, and the remarkable impact that ECHO and its donated CBD products have made in the quality of their lives over that time is both humbling and inspiring.
Get to Know the Rivera Family
From the very beginning of his young life, Marco Rivera has faced very serious health challenges. As a newborn, his parents, Jose and Juana Rivera, were told by doctors that Marco was in a vegetative state and would likely only live a few months.
From birth, Marco had no natural gag reflex or control over his secretions. His body was unable to properly regulate his temperature and he had scoliosis. All of these issues were tied to serious neural development problems that led doctors to believe that Jose and Juana should focus on keeping their son as comfortable as possible for the rest of what they expected to be a very short life.
“Basically they told us Marco’s never gonna walk. Marco’s never gonna talk. Marco’s blind. Marco’s deaf. I felt like what they were handing me was a corpse,” Jose explained, looking back to those early days.
Juana, remembering that time, added, “At the beginning when he was born, it was very difficult for me. I was always depressed and I would cry a lot.”
But the brave parents never lost hope. They became determined to provide their son with his best chance of not only survival, but a happy life.
Marco is now seven years old. He goes to school and is now in second grade. On a typical day, pre-pandemic, Marco receives a full line-up of treatments, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and even aromatherapy.
Jose and Juana have been thrilled at Marco’s positive developments over the years. They’ve found that consistent and repetitious therapeutic work is key, and they’ve since had to make adjustments with the pandemic to ensure that Marco still gets the training he needs. Before, the family had teachers and therapists coming to their home to help them during the day. Now with the pandemic, it’s all on the parents to take Marco through the services.
“To have a special needs child, it’s not easy,” said Jose. “Not only is it not easy dealing with your child, but it’s difficult for people to understand what a family goes through with a special needs child. You know, they have no idea, you know, unless they come and see and even with seeing, the full understanding is not there.”
Jose, who has taken an even greater lead on his son’s development since the start of the public health crisis, is teaching Marco how to read and communicate using braille. Marco, whose vision remains limited, is learning the alphabet through the tactile reading system.
Marco also loves books and it’s rare to find him without a stuffed animal by his side. But, according to Jose, Marco really enjoys everything in his life. Once he adjusts to new things and gets comfortable, he gives smiles and shows his appreciation using his own unique ways of communication with his family.
The Rivera family believes that the sponsored CBD hemp oil products that they have received through ECHO have also supported Marco’s wellness over the years.
“[From] a parents perspective, it’s day and night,” said Jose.
The Riveras were initially introduced to CBD hemp oil by Dr. Kathleen Smith, a Las Vegas-based doctor with years of experience as an emergency room and a family practice physician. Dr. Smith had heard of and seen CBD’s positive natural wellness properties. On her suggestion, Jose and Juana started Marco on a CBD oil regimen.
The entire Rivera family now incorporates CBD products into their everyday wellness routine. Jose notices positive differences in how he feels every day from servings of CBD, but he’s even more impressed with the differences the hemp compound has had on Marco.
“It’s all because of the effects of the CBD to the body, we have actually seen what they say, the science says it does, we’re actually physically seeing with our eyes the response through our son,” he said.
Supporting Families Like the Riveras Through ECHO
It’s because of the incredible impact that the ECHO sponsorship program makes in the lives of the Riveras and other families that we at Kannaway are so proud to support, in every way we can, the non-profit organization’s efforts to improve lives with CBD and financial assistance.
Through ECHO, Marco and his family receive sponsored hemp CBD oil products to promote their wellness and support their quality of life.
“It has been, in my eyes and my family lives, it has changed our life completely,” explained Jose when asked about the impact of being an ECHO family.
You too can make a direct positive impact in the lives of children like Marco and families like the Riveras. ECHO is able to deliver CBD products and financial support to more than 150 families largely through donations from the caring Kannaway community.
Asked whether he’d like to say anything to those who contribute to ECHO, Jose passionately replied, “I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart, the bottom of my family’s heart, and the bottom of my son’s heart, that we appreciate everything that everybody is doing for us and the rest of the family’s out there.”
We truly hope you’ll consider supporting families like the Riveras today. With your donation, you will be an integral part of ECHO's mission of supporting families during a time of need.
There are two ways to make a gift to ECHO:
- Add a Click to Care donation to your Kannaway cart as you make your next Kannaway purchase. Through your Kannaway back office, you can also make a powerful impact in families lives by adding a recurring Click to Care contribution to ECHO through your SmartShip.
- Make a one-time or recurring donation directly through the ECHO website.
The most rewarding part of ECHO is hearing the differences in the lives of families it supports, and we’re humbled to help the Riveras and the more than 100 other families that receive CBD products and financial support through ECHO.