Polar News > Building Community and Normalcy

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

How Polar’s  Fiber Optic Connection is Building Community and Normalcy

At the Gagner home in Cavalier, North Dakota, no day is the same. With four kids running around, you never know what each day will bring. And one of those children is Levi.

“Levi was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of congenital muscular dystrophy called LCMD,” Levi’s dad, Kyle Gagner, explains. “It’s a life-limiting, muscle-wasting disease. Essentially, Levi’s muscles will get weaker faster than they get stronger.”

LCMD does not affect Levi’s speech or cognitive abilities, and in that way he’s just like any other 4-year-old boy; he enjoys playing with his siblings, being outside, and smiling a whole lot. However, living with LCMD poses many challenges for Levi — he is confined to a wheelchair, and is unable to hold up his head or sit up on his own. These limitations make it hard for Levi to perform day to day functions like eating, turning on lights, operating the television, etc.

It’s because of this that the Gagners decided to install smart-home technology. With this technology, Levi is able to do much more on his own.

“To be able to enter a room and turn on music and turn on lights, open doors, and control things he wouldn’t otherwise be able to control because of his limitations, is pretty significant,” Kyle said.

When the Gagners first moved to Cavalier, they called Polar. It wasn’t until they had Levi, and their needs for fast and reliable internet increased, that they realized just how incredible Polar’s internet services were.

And the impact doesn’t stop there. Because it’s such a rare disease, it’s difficult to find other families that can relate with the challenges of LCMD. That is until they got in touch with a boy in the United Kingdom, who is also living with LCMD.

Through the Gagner’s non-profit, Levi’s Hope, they have been raising money to help children with LCMD, and started a 5K as a fundraiser. Thanks to Polar’s fiber-optic internet, they were able to stream the Levi’s Hope 5K for Levi’s friend in the UK.

“We take this internet for granted, but we could not have these smart home capabilities without a reliable internet connection,” Kyle says. “If we had the ‘ol 56k dial up internet, there’s no chance we could have any of this smart home technology. I’m thankful that we have such a great telecommunications company in the middle of nowhere.”

Levi and his family continue to face the challenges of LCMD head on. With Polar’s fiber-optic internet throughout the region, the family is able to give Levi more control of his surroundings, as well as build community with other families who face similar challenges.  And while no day seems “normal”, having that connection and community brings a little bit of normalcy to the hectic day-to-day.