In 1992 a beautiful baby girl was born to parents Patrick & Barbara Cyr. From the beginning, Courtney was considered a “failure to thrive” child who required constant medical attention and care, only sleeping 3 hours a day. At the age of 6 months, Courtney was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and developmentally delayed. The pediatric Neurologist who diagnosed Courtney recommended she be placed in a specialized center for children with severe and profound intellectual disabilities. He told her parents because of the complexity of her sleep patterns and complicated medical issues, Courtney’s quality of life would not be good. Patrick and Barbara would not give up on their daughter or accept his opinion of her quality of life.
By the time she turned two, Courtney had been hospitalized multiple times and began a scheduled regimen of highly potent sleep medicines. Even with frequent rotations of different medicines, Courtney’s sleep patterns never became consistent or conducive.
At the age of three, Courtney had the ability to stand on her own and was rapidly out-growing her crib. Keeping Courtney safe was becoming increasingly harder for her parents. They knew that Courtney could not transition into a standard twin size bed. Her inability to be cognizant of her surroundings and inability to sleep was a huge hurdle. Patrick and Barbara tried everything in attempts to keep their daughter safe.
In 1995 Patrick and Barbara were denied by their insurance company for any help to obtain a specialized bed for their daughter. Feeling helpless but remaining diligent on providing her with a safe place to sleep, Patrick and Barbara began the design of their daughter’s new bed.
With determination, resilience and a fierce desire to keep their daughter safe, the Courtney Bed evolved.
Not long after, the Maine Department of Behavioral and Developmental Services came in to evaluate the bed. Impressed, they offered to pay for the materials required to build the bed and encouraged Patrick and Barbara to become a State provider of their bed to families with similar needs. On numerous occasions over the years, Maine’s BDS supplied the funding for other families to acquire a Courtney Bed.
Wanting to help other families, Patrick and Barbara applied and were awarded a grant from the Maine Technology Institute (MTI) to further develop the Courtney Bed. Managers at Maine’s BDS wrote a letter to MTI in support of the seed grant application. This grant led to FDA approval and a patent on the design of the Courtney Bed.
In 2008, Maine’s DHHS finally decided to use their Flex-Funding system to provide their bed to Maine families. The desire to help other families with special needs children compelled Patrick and Barbara to lobby in the state of Maine to provide funding for their bed. In 2009, Maine LD 423 (the Courtney Bed bill) was signed into law.
“A parents love for their child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path”
Against the odds, Courtney is living a happy, healthy life. She was able to flourish at home, graduate high school, and enjoy the simplicity of childhood. Now in her twenties, with the help of her parents, siblings and wonderful caregivers, Courtney leads a semi-independent life. She lives in her own home, has her own vending machine business and loves her cat Molly.