2010 Winner - Fiona Angeline

Winner Fiona Angeline

Karen Angeline was in the car in morning rush hour traffic when she got the call that The Eric Fund was going to be purchasing a text-to-speech word processor for her daughter Fiona. 

She was so eager to discuss the grant that she pulled off the highway so she could concentrate on the conversation!  And it's no wonder. 

Karen is a knowledgeable and vocal advocate for her daughter Fiona, a 16-year-old girl with Downs Syndrome and apraxia. She is currently involved in a dispute with the school district for not fulfilling its obligation to purchase a new text writer (a device that provides a speech alternative to hand writing) for Fiona, despite the fact that it's written in her IEP (Individual Education Plan). 

Fiona's disabilities combine to make writing and spelling very difficult for her due to low muscle tone. She is a bright girl with an excellent vocabulary and good ideas so when the text writer that she was using in school broke early in the year, it was assumed that she would quickly get a replacement so that she didn't fall behind in school – an assumption that proved to be incorrect. Karen turned to The Eric Fund for help get the equipment Fiona so badly needed when she reached a dead end with the school district.

Fiona is an active teenager who enjoys dancing and horseback riding. One of her primary heroes in life is Amelia Earhart, the legendary female pilot and aviation pioneer. Fiona's first exposure to Amelia Earhart was in the movie ìNight at the Museum II.

After seeing the movie she was so taken by her that she sought to read numerous books about the pilot and watched every movie she could find. She has even dressed up like her idol on Halloween! One of Fiona's favorite places to visit is the Air & Space Museum on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Those who knew Eric and are familiar with The Eric Fund, know that Eric was passionate about flying as well, a coincidence that makes providing assistance to a girl like Fiona that much more gratifying.

Fiona's new Fusion Text-to-Speech communication device will enable her to interact more effectively with her family, friends and teachers at home, at school and at play.  Through a grant from The Eric Fund she is being given her own set of "wings" to help her fly higher!