Rose van Wier Hein just wanted what was best for her son Justin. She wanted a place for him to call home and contribute to a community, the same goals any parent has for a child.
But for Justin, who suffers from intractable epilepsy and autism, his future was not always so clear. The 22-year-old suffers from seizures that can occur at a moment’s notice. He requires 11 pills in the morning and 11 pills at night. He finds the most relief, however, by taking Cannabinoid (CBD) oil derived from marijuana, but even that doesn’t last.
“Almost every special needs parent will tell you, when they give you the news, for us, you think they are going to get better, you’re going to get the right pill, or find the right treatment… You try everything because you feel like: if you don’t, you’re hurting your child,” said van Wier Hein.
“It got to the point where we realized he wasn’t going to get any better. He wasn’t going to be cured. Then we started to think, what will we do when he gets older?”
She and her husband knew Justin could never live alone, but there were few residential facilities they really liked. That’s when she set out on a quest to create the best future possible for her son. Ultimately, they wound up touching the lives of so many more.
Acquiring the land and building
Van Wier Hein heads the nonprofit Golden Heart Ranch. Two years ago, the couple realized a long-term goal of acquiring land to create a ranch where young adults with special needs could live full time. They purchased the land of the former Sunny Skies Day Camp on 22-acres near Malibu. The site…
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