CARIBOU, Maine — Sitting outside the door to his room at the Caribou Rehab and Nursing Center, 18-year-old Robby Farley offers a bright, cheerful smile to all those who pass by. He and his brother, Andy, 15, share the cozy, homelike room together. Their parents, Albert and Nicole Farley of Caribou, visit every day, watching videos and enjoying family time and meals with their sons.
Both young men have a rare disorder that consists of progressive degeneration of the white matter of the brain because of imperfect growth or development of the myelin sheath, the fatty covering that acts as an insulator around nerve fiber. The disease is called leukodystrophy and impairs mental and physical development. It is obvious, however, that it does not impair the attitude and spirit of the brothers.
It is because of their tremendous spirit and perseverance that the Farley family’s friend Ricketta Belanger found it fitting to nominate Robby and Andy for The Cubby’s Hero of the Month Award. The Cubby thrift store, which has locations in Presque Isle and Caribou, created “The Cubby Fund” to benefit families of children with life-threatening illnesses.
Belanger did not tell anyone, including the Farley family, about the nomination until the two teens were chosen as September’s recipients of the award. Each of the young men received $100.
“I am really impressed with how happy the boys are,” said The Cubby’s co-owner Cindy Johnson. “You can really tell how loved they are. I am also impressed with the level of care they are receiving.”
Nicole Farley offered her praise for the rehab center, as well.
“The nursing staff is phenomenal,” she commented, adding it was an extremely difficult decision to place her sons in a care facility. “But we now have more security. Knowing that they have the constant professional care, we can be more relaxed with them. They are in good hands.”
Albert and Nicole do take the boys home every once in a while for overnight visits. Robby and Andy’s favorite movie is “Cars,” which is evident by the wallpaper border in their room, and Robby loves to watch the television show “American Loggers.” The siblings light up with the adoration they receive from visitors and doting staff, and these two young men have the same effect on everyone they encounter.