Baby Trek...The Ingram's story and how travel is possible for everyone

"Trust me when I say that however phenomenal you think my wife is, you should raise your expectations. I feel that I can confidently say that there is no one who is as selfless and loving as a mother as her. Aside from the fact that she holds Trek nearly 24 hours a day and feeds him constantly, she never falters in her affection for him." Jarrett Ingram

Ingram Family
I first met Chelsea virtually in a facebook group about families that travel.  They were planning on heading to Asia and asked several questions about what that would entail.  After a few weeks we heard from Chelsea again but this time it was with devastating news.  They had just found out that their baby boy, Trek Atlas, was gravely ill.

As a mother I was moved to tears for this family.  After going to their blog and devouring it over the next 2 hours I was in awe.  From his amazing birth story to their devotion to each other as a family I was inspired.  But the truly amazing part was that Chelsea kept blogging after Trek became ill.  With raw emotion and incredible honesty Chelsea shows you a deeper side to her family..

As a family they are so impressive, they aren't letting this huge ordeal slow down their dreams for their family.  People make excuses all the time as to why they cannot follow their dreams.  To me, this Ingram family shows us all that there are no real excuses in life.  Go after what you want no matter what the circumstances are.

They will inspire you to tears, and are sure to help anyone in a similar situation.  I feel honored to know them and I am thrilled to help spread their word.  Enjoy their tale, follow their blog, and help support them in any way that moves you.

From Chelsea: We moved to Maui, Hawaii in 2008 with our 2 sons Peyton and Conner. In April 2011, we gave birth to our 3rd son, Trek Atlas, in our driveway! I obviously waited too long to get to the hospital. Jarrett delivered him and it profoundly changed our lives. We had hoped to travel the world in a couple of years, but after his birth we decided that life was too short to not have more amazing moments like that. We began selling all of our belongings and saving money so we could travel full time as a family in 2012.

We decided to move to Thailand and Jarrett was going to teach English and write books. Right before we left we found out that Trek has a very rare genetic disorder called Neimann Pick Type A. He will only live to be 2 years old, and there is no treatment or cure.

We are devastated and heartbroken. We named our baby Trek Atlas because we were going to travel the world with him and his brothers.  We went forward with travel plans. We wanted to get Trek a stamp on his passport and make special memories with him.  We are currently in Central America travelling around and hope to make it to Maui in April for a fundraiser at Hard Rock CafĂ© and to celebrate his 1st birthday.

Trek, all smiles, at 9 weeks old   The blog site that chronicles Trek, how he is doing, and what the family is up to   Showcasing different fundraisers for Trek, written by Chelsea's amazingly supportive sister  Another blog but from dad, Jarretts's perspective   A beautiful video compilation of Trek's life so far  Where you can go to support this great family

Here are a few questions I asked Chelsea in order to get to know her and her family's story a little bit better.

I have been so inspired by the strength you have been exhibiting, what is it that inspires you to stay so strong?
Our 3 boys!  Peyton (6 years) and Conner (4 years) have so much life and vigor. They remind us all the time how exciting and precious life is. They give us little time to think about Trek’s illness because we are just trying to keep up with them and play and explore.  And then Trek, even though he is sick, he does not know any difference. It is our joy to make him smile and snuggle him all day. We try to stay strong for him so he can only know a life of joy and peace.

How are the boys handling everything, do they know what is going on totally?
Peyton and Conner are very intuitive. We have not come out and told them that Trek is going to die. We are just answering each question as it comes up. The questions are becoming more and more specific and I think very soon they will ask if he is going to die and we will tell them.

We have just told them he is very sick when it comes up or they ask questions like, “when will Trek learn to walk?” (he never will).

We are very honest with them and answer each question fully.  Peyton has been asking a lot of questions about death lately, so we know he is slowly putting the pieces together and digesting it all.  Peyton told me the other day out of the blue that even if Trek died, that he would never forget him.

We are sad that not only are we losing our precious son, but that it will affect our other babies too since they will be losing a brother.

The honesty on your blog is going to help so many people in the future, why did you start it and what helps you continue it every day?
I started in 2009 in order to keep all of our friends and family updated about our life in Maui.  After we found out Trek was sick in December 2011, I started using it more to update everyone about his condition and our travels and my struggles.

For some reason it is very therapeutic for me to be very honest on the blog. I usually write late at night when everyone is asleep and I can think clearly. That is usually when I can feel my pain and sorrow fully. I just write and write and let my brain and energy sort out all of my emotions and I feel at peace. I am so thankful for all of the love and support I have received through the blog. It has truly made this time a little more bearable.

What are your plans for the next year or so?
My husband had already quit his job for our move to Thailand when we found out Trek was sick. Even though he can go back to his job any time we are trying to keep him home so he can be with Trek these precious months we have left with him and for him to help me with cooking, cleaning, homeschooling and our older boys.

I have to hold and breastfeed Trek around the clock, he is uncomfortable in any other position.

Trek at 10 months old in Nicaragua
Since we are trying to make our money stretch we headed to Central America where we can live and have fun comfortably on a budget. We spent 3 weeks in Nicaragua and we are currently in Utila, Honduras where we have rented a house for 4 weeks.

We are hoping to go to Maui in April and then maybe to Texas to visit friends and family in May. We are not sure after that.  It all depends on Trek’s health. There is no cure, just pain management. We plan to keep travelling as long as he is happy and feels good.

Trek’s motto that is on his bracelets and website is “Embrace Life”. That is our goal for everyday for the rest of his and our lives.

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  1. We've had the great pleasure of getting to meet the Ingrams and spend time with them. I was greatly touched by their story when they first joined our Facebook group and was, and continue to be amazed, at their courage and outlook. Wonderful family!

  2. The Ingrams are a remarkable family and an inspiring example. I appreciate how they are cherishing life together.

  3. Thank you for intereviewing my sweet sister, even though I know these beautiful things about their family and have seen them first-hand, it is always so wonderful to read it againa and again. Each of them have changed my life forever and as Trek's Auntie, I will never be the same..he is truly an angel and I wish everyone could meet him.

  4. Thank you so much Amanada, I am so glad you like it. But you should also know that part of the story that touches me so much is YOU! You seem to be such a loving, supportive sister. You give them a strength that not all people get to have in their lives. Love to you and the entire family!

  5. As Chelsea & Amanda's aunt, I appreciate this blog. They are both truly remarkable & inspirational women and our family is blessed to have them! Unfortunately, the dictionary doesn't have enough wonderful words to describe Chelsea and her family. Trek has touched so many people and we will probably never know just how many! Embrace Life!

  6. I have been following her blog from some time after connecting with them on facebook.
    The thing that amazes me is how strong the whole family is, and how much love they have to share with their boys.
    Chelsea is incredible, and baby Trek is so beautiful. I dont understand why this has happened to their gorgeous family, but I can feel how much love, strength, courage, adventure and joy they have for what time they have together. They are truly inspirational.

  7. I know Chelsea and Jarrett through her sister Amanda. I remember babysitting their oldest, Peyton, when he was just an infant. Even then, I always thought Chelsea was the most beautiful young lady in East Texas. Her joy is radiant, her smile contagious, and you can't help but be inspired by the way she and Jarrett love one another, their family, and the people around them. Thank you for sharing their story.