It was never supposed to be this way for Joe Lansinger. It was never the path he thought to take.
“Right,” he said. “[It’s a] hobby-turned-business.”
For his son’s third birthday, Lansinger dressed up as a clown and learned how to make a few basic balloon animals. That was five years ago.
“The funny thing is that, you know, I’m not the only guy out there,” he said.
He’s one of the many who twists balloons. His work stands out with his business, Balloosions. He’s one of the few where anything less than extraordinary simply won’t do.
“I refuse to be just a balloon dog, sword or flower,” he said. “I hate that. Like, no…[I need] a little more imagination.”
Imagination. Like that, perhaps, of a 12-year-old girl.
“I liked the balloon animal guy because he made me a mermaid out of balloons,” Adyn Bucher said.
Bucher also has an argument for how things were never supposed to be.
Bucher’s father, Brian, still can’t explain the emotion of being told his daughter would not live past age two.
“I mean, it’s terrifying,” he said. “Basically type ones, at that time, had basically…they were expected to live around 2 years old.”
At one-and-a-half Adyn was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. It’s a disease that robs a person of their physical strength by affecting the motor nerve cells in the spinal cord.
10 years later, the girl who wasn’t supposed to see first grade is preparing for seventh.
It hasn’t been easy. Brian says between different clinics, sleep studies, infusions and other appointments Adyn’s been inside a hospital more than 200 times. He can only call it incredible.
“It is, you know,” he said.
And more impressive than Adyn’s will to live is her will to help others.
“That’s really what we’re trying to do,” Brian said. “[We’re] trying to share some of that impact with other families that need it, based on what we went through and what we continue to go through.”
“Adyn’s Dream” is a non-profit that raises money for other families dealing with SMA. Money raised helps everything from medical equipment for those who were possibly denied by insurance to a gas card. The Buchers say no donation is too small.
It’s why the Buchers are thankful for the special talent of Lansinger.
“I would absolutely agree with that,” Brian said. “Absolutely.”
And it’s why Lansinger, in return, is thankful for Adyn.
“She’s the coolest kid,” Lansinger said. “She’s got such a positive outlook on life.”
After learning of Adyn’s Dream, the idea of helping ballooned.
“That selflessness…please, let me help, you know,” Lansinger said.
And help, he did.
Lansinger spent four hours to make a custom piece of balloon artwork.
“It was a giant racecar,” Adyn said.
A Formula One racecar that was raffled off to the highest bidder at this year’s Lancaster Festival in July that sold for more than $50. All proceeds went to Adyn’s Dream.
“She was gracious and grateful,” Lansinger said.
As fragile as a balloon.
“You could sort of sit in it, but, like, you shouldn’t sit in it because it’ll pop under your butt,” Adyn said.
As fierce as a good deed.
“I like having a bigger purpose to it,” Lansinger said.
It was never supposed to be this way. But, some paths worth taking are not for self, but for others.
“Adyn teaches me selflessness,” Lansinger said.