Emily Slovina wondered why Karolina Leszcynski was always late for the yoga class she teaches at Westbrook Village in Peoria.
“She was always 30 minutes late, and one day I told her what time we actually start,” Slovina said. “Then she told me her story and all she does, and my heart went out to her.”
Leszcynski is the mother of 9-year-old twins, Amanda and Natalie, who were born developmentally disabled and have seizures on a regular basis. Mentally, the girls function at a 1- to 2-year-old level.
Leszcynski makes sure the twins go to a number of therapies at least five times a week so they can develop their motor skills.
Even with the help of her husband, “it’s still overwhelming,” said Leszcynski, a Surprise resident who also has a 4-year-old son.
Members of Westbrook Village’s yoga class conducted a fund-raising event Saturday for the family.
Vera Esperseth, an organizer for the yoga session, said the members wanted to do all they could to help the mother, who also is a part of the group.
“It’s extraordinary what she has to do, so anything we can do to help, then we want to do that,” Esperseth said.
The fundraiser was a free yoga class, but many people gave donations. And there were raffle tickets for a number of prizes as well.
Espereth and the yoga class already have raised $4,000 for the AN (Amanda Natalie) Foundation.
Donna Hacker, a Peoria resident and friend of Leszcynski, attended the fundraiser.
“I wanted to be here because I care for them and all that Karolina and her family has to do,” Hacker said.
Leszcynski is grateful the yoga class reached out to help because “they didn’t have to do anything.”
“These people are so caring,” she said. “I never expected that when I joined this class there would be this much love and compassion.”