Teira Has Her iPad And Her Voice Back – November 17, 2012

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Teira Manfredda with her brand new iPad. Photo by Colleen Leydecker

Kevin L. Hoover

Eye Editor

ARCATA – Heartbreak turned to happiness in Arcata Saturday as Teira Manfredda got her voice back.

Teira’s backpack was stolen from her mother’s car outside Eureka’s Grocery Outlet Tuesday evening, Nov. 13, and with it went her iPad. In this case, the loss was more than just a missing techno-toy – Teira, 11, used it to communicate.

She was born with a chromosomal disorder known as Phelan-McDermid Syndrome, which can lead to a number of symptoms, including problems with verbal communication.

Use of the iPad and an application called Scene&Heard had more than doubled Teira’s 150-word vocabulary and given her a new measure of independence. “She had about 150 words when we started,” said her mother, Colleen Leydecker, a McKinleyville resident who also leads Teira’s Girl Scout troop. “Now she has about 350 words and phrases. It’s been incredible.”

Colleen and Tom Leydecker, Teira Manfredda, Simeon Tauber and Mitch Willams (kneeling). KLH | Eye

Making the situation even sadder was that Teira had earned the iPad by selling 3,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies. At a loss, her mother saw no choice but to get started selling another 3,000 boxes of cookies. “We were talking about it and gearing up for it,” Colleen said.

Saturday morning, though, things took a turn for the better when, while shopping in Valley West, Colleen’s cell phone rang. It was Simply Macintosh co-owner Simeon Tauber, and he had good news: a donor had walked in to the downtown Arcata Apple outlet wishing to replace Teira’s iPad.

The donor was Mitch Williams, who had learned of the theft in the Times-Standard. “It was simple,” Williams said. “She’s done good work.”

“We had the thought to do this and weren’t sure how  to implement it,” Tauber said. “It was Mitch walking in the door that made it happen.”

Simply Mac sold Williams the iPad – the very latest model, with the Retina display – at his wholesale cost. But that wasn’t enough of a price break, so Tauber kicked in $100 of his own. “We wanted to do our part, and cost didn’t seem sufficient,” Tauber said.

Mitch Williams and Teira. KLH | Eye

Saturday afternoon, the Leydecker family met up with their benefactors at Simply Mac. There, Teira was given her replacement iPad and with it, her ability to communicate. She beamed with joy as she clutched closely the box with her new iPad inside.

“It will give her her voice back,” Colleen said.

Williams and Simply Mac weren’t the only well-wishers. Leydecker had been flooded with calls ever since the T-S story came out. “The response has been overwhelming,” Colleen said. “We’ve been fielding phone calls all day from people wanting to help out. I haven’t been able to call them all back.”

“We can’t thank the community enough for their support and generosity,” she continued. “The people of Humboldt County are just amazing.”