Kansas family plans Tractor Cruise to help youngest child, others with rare disorder | TheFencePost.com

Kansas family plans Tractor Cruise to help youngest child, others with rare disorder

Amy Hadachek

At the Northeast Kansas Tractor Cruise on Labor Day, Ingrid Olsen, 11, greets participants. Her father Keith said it's a highlight for many of the tractor drivers to stop and say hello to Ingrid and her older sister, Grete.

Ingrid will be at the event and ready for the warm welcome, but when members of the Everest, Kan., community stop by to smile and ask her how she's doing, she won't be able to answer. Ingrid was diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome when she was born. She can't speak.

Angelman Syndrome is a rare disorder that causes seizures and delays in development and speech.

Keith Olson has organized the Northeast Kansas Tractor Cruise fundraiser for the last eight years to raise money for his little girl and others with the disorder. Each tractor pays $35 to ride in the cruise, all of which is donated to the Angelman Syndrome Foundation.

"I do it for all "Angels," and enjoy meeting new friends from all over the Midwest — Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and Kansas," Keith said. "It has attracted farmers, collectors and whoever wants to have an enjoyable day."

The community support has been beneficial for the Olsen family, Keith said. When Ingrid was first diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome, it was very frightening for the family. Now, though, she is learning new ways to communicate and even though she gets tired easily, she sometimes does physical therapy and is able to walk well with help. Ingrid hasn't had a seizure for a long time, Olsen said.

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Because of the support from the community, the Olsens like to give back. Olsen is in his third term as a Brown County Commissioner and he's also the Horton, Kan., Parks and Recreation Director, a junior high and high school basketball referee, a 4-H volunteer and is active in promoting developments in agriculture.

The Tractor Cruise for Angelman's Syndrome begins with registration at Everest Middle School from 8:30-10:15 a.m. on Sept. 5. The cruise leaves the school at 10:30 a.m. ❖

To help

To donate to the Angelman Syndrome Foundation, contact the foundation at 1(800)432-6435 or send a check in honor of Ingrid Olsen to:

Angelman Syndrome Foundation

75 Executive Drive, Suite 327

Aurora, IL 60504

For more information from the Olsens, contact Keith at (785)741-0207 or olegold@rainbowtel.net.