Carter’s Turn


Families in search of hope and healing are finding it at Amarillo’s Turn Center. More than 1,500 children on the High Plains received help through from the center this past year.

Hundreds of families are finding big hope in small steps. For the Guillen family, they’re rejoicing that their son, Carter, is getting his turn.

Carter is four and has been coming to Turn Center for about a year.

One of his physical therapist, Michelle Hoyt, has been with him literally every step of the way.

“The day that we finally got him taking steps in the walker was a really big day for us, “said Hoyt. “He was hesitant about being in the space of the walker itself. And so once he realized that it provided freedom for him and independence he was unstoppable and it was exciting to see.”

Carter has come a long way especially considering he wasn’t given much of a chance from the beginning.

Pam Guillen remembers going in for their 17-week appointment excited about finding out the gender of her baby.  The found out it was going to be a boy but the sonogram showed something else.  Carter had fluid on his brain. 

Within a month they diagnosed him with Dandy-Walker Syndrome, a congenital brain malformation of the cerebellum.

Pam didn’t know what that meant and it was heartbreaking when a specialist gave her the news. 

“The specialist told us they weren’t able to determine the quality of life”, said Guillen. “They would pretty much said they would abort him.”

That was not an option for the Guillen’s.

“We just knew that God had placed us with this child and that he was going to be born and that we were going to love him,” said Guillen

Carter is loved and he gives plenty of it in return.

“He’s learned to kiss you or he’s learned to hug and you know, things like that, he’s so loving,” said Guillen.  “Those are the moments that that I think back and think that this is completely worth it. He cuddles, he loves you. He is just, I don’t know, I just can’t imagine our life without him.”

Carter’s big turn came here at the Turn Center, an oasis of hope for families just like the Guillen’s, searching for answers and seeking major milestones.

Bruce Mosley is the Executive Director of Turn Center.  He loves seeing these kids and their families reach new heights.

“There’s the day where the child loses their walker,” said Mosley. “There’s the day that they don’t need a wheelchair. And there’s the day that they say, I love you Mom for the first time when they’re nine years old.”

Carter is making the most of his turn and even though there’s so much the Guillen’s don’t know about what happens next, they do know where they are right now.

“I don’t know if he’ll run one day, but, but in my heart, I know that he will, because I have faith that God’s going to heal him and getting to those points,” said Guillen.  “I don’t know if it’ll take three years for him to say a sentence.  I don’t care. I really don’t. I mean, he is just Carter, that’s just who he is. That’s where he’s at right now in his life plan. And we’re okay with that.”

The Turn Center continues to expand its services. Mosley said they are in the process of developing a program to serve students identified with dyslexia in an after-school program.

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