Todd Glover and Amanda Clark are a young married couple with two young children. At first glance, one might assume them to be an ordinary family with ordinary needs, but this assumption would not be accurate.
The family's circumstances are indeed such that they have extraordinary needs.
The couple's younger child, Madison, now 7 months of age, was born with a rare form of cancer that resulted in the amputation of her right arm.
Doctors at first believed the child's arm was deformed, her mother said, but examination in the coming weeks revealed much more.
"Her arm had broken in utero," Amanda said. "We later learned that a malignant tumor in the forearm broke her arm in six different places."
However, this wasn't known for a time, she said.
"At first we were told to wait for six months to do anything about her arm, but at three weeks we were in the emergency room and discovered this was not a deformity.
"Two weeks later we got an orthopedic evaluation at Arkansas Children's Hospital and were told then that she had a mass in her right arm and it was something they had never seen before."
The specific type of cancer was not determined until biopsies and other tests were performed and eventually the couple learned that Madison had a high-grade sarcoma, Amanda said. With later diagnosis the condition was said to be "an unclassified spindle and round cell high-grade sarcoma," she noted.
"They started chemotherapy in the next 48 hours and this is continuing," she said.
Actually, Madison receives five types of chemotherapy in a further effort to contain the malignancy.
More about the disease was revealed following the amputation, Amanda said. "This is a type of cancer that has been found in late teens and adults and not usually in infants. That's the reason it was so hard to identify."
Because of the constant care Madison must have, Amanda cannot work. "I would work if I could, but I have to take care of Madison."
Todd is employed at Whole Hog Cafe in Bryant, but his wages do not provide adequate income for the family. He works double shifts whenever possible, but even so the income is far less than the family needs.
They reside in a 500-square foot home in Benton and need more space and more comfortable surroundings to accommodate a sick baby and Matthew, an active 3-year-old.
But with no additional income, this isn't even a possibility.
Their meager living space does not even include a washing machine and the house is not equipped with washer hook-ups if they could afford to buy one, which they can't.
"Matthew can't go to day care because of the exposure he would have to other children, and we can't take the children out anywhere because of the risk of infection to Madison," she said.
"Her immune system is so fragile that we have to be extremely careful with exposure to anyone," she added.
"In spite of all her problems, she's really a happy baby," Amanda said. "It's really amazing that she can be so happy."
"We struggle with our circumstances," Todd said. "We lived with relatives for a while, but that didn't work out.
"Our utilities are scheduled to be shut off next week, and we have to do something about them," he said. "We have to have air conditioning for Madison.
"We won't qualify for the Benton Utilities Share program until September," Amanda said, "because we've only lived in Benton a few months."
(The Share program assists eligible customers who are struggling to pay their utilities. Recipients are determined by a board that reviews applications.)
The family's car is another problem, Todd explained. Their 1996 Lincoln Town Car "runs but only barely runs," he said. "It was the only thing we could afford when we got it. The brakes are a problem and sometimes I don't think it's going to make it over the Highway 5 overpass, but we can't afford car repairs. We can't afford anything."
If there are those who can assist the couple, they are asked to do so at Malvern National Bank. Contributions may be made at any branch of the bank to the account of Amanda Clark; donors should note that the money is for the Madison Glover fund.
Amanda pointed out that Madison also has "a piggy bank account at Children's Hospital, where donations also could be made if anyone should want to help us in that way."
"We hate asking for help, but we're really desperate," she said.
Amanda said the family does not receive food stamps. "We were on the food stamps program, but I failed to send in a form at one point because we were involved in an emergency with Madison and I didn't get it in in time. We've had to reapply for the program."
Madison is on Medicaid, so most of her medical costs have been covered, her mother noted.
Amanda expressed gratitude in advance to anyone who might be able to help them. "It's not easy to ask for help, but we would appreciate any kind of assistance that could help us improve our circumstances.
"We're praying that there will be help out there," she said. "We're just trying to take care of our family."
Additional information is available by calling 319-4878.