2017 Winner - James Aliban

At 14, James Aliban has endured more than any young boy should. He has undergone two open-heart surgeries, a bone marrow transplant, and is currently in remission from leukemia. In addition, he lost his mother to cancer three years ago, leaving his father as his primary caregiver.

Due to his hearing loss in both ears and limited verbalization skills, James had been using the LAMP Words for Life app on his iPad to communicate as best he could. However, this solution was far from ideal; while the LAMP Words for Life app was helping him gain the ability to express himself, progress was slow. He needed a device dedicated solely to communication.

James was nominated for The Eric Fund grant by his speech-language pathologist, who believed that the Accent 1000 – an augmentative communication device manufactured by the Prentke Romich Company – used with the LAMP Words for Life language system would help reduce James’s frustration and support additional language learning. Using the app with the Accent 1000 would give James a way to communicate in all settings throughout his day, improve his social connections, learning opportunities, and ability to express his wants and needs.

Unfortunately, the $7,500 cost of the Accent 1000 was more than the maximum amount that The Eric Fund awards any one applicant, which put in jeopardy the possibility of getting James this life-changing technology.

Enter Prentke Romich. The Prentke Romich Company has been a leading manufacturer of augmentative communication devices for more than 50 years. The Eric Fund has worked with PRC many times over the years, to provide assistive technology to our award winners. When an Eric Fund board member reached out to them about James, they were ready and willing to help.

At its annual silent auction fundraiser on May 1, The Eric Fund featured a special “fund an item” component specifically designed to raise money to put toward the purchase of the Accent 1000 for James. The Prentke Romich Company generously donated the remaining amount, allowing the grant to go through and allowing James to have a voice.

James Aliban, his father Anastacio, and the entire board of The Eric Fund are tremendously grateful for the generosity of the Prentke Romich Company for making this grant possible!