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CCH EMS receives new, state-funded sensory kits following push from local nonprofit

Campbell County Health Emergency Medical Services receives sensory kits. (Campbell County Health)

GILLETTE, Wyo. — State funding has armed Campbell County Health with a new tool to help ensure the safety of individuals with sensory disorders in emergency situations, the healthcare organization announced this month. 

On Oct. 17, CCH Emergency Medical Services became the inaugural recipient of sensory kits delivered by Cody’s Puzzle Piece Foundation with funding provided by Wyoming Emergency Medical Services for Children. 

The foundation was established in memory of Cody Sams, who passed away from injuries sustained in a fatal car crash five years ago at the age of 21, per CCH. 

Cody’s remarkable and kind spirit forms the heart of the initiative, aimed at enhancing the lives of individuals with sensory disorders and ensuring their safety in emergencies, CCH says. 

The sensory kits are rooted in the memory of Cody, who was a high-functioning autistic individual with a powerful and innate desire to help those in need. 

“Cody’s memory and his enduring impact on those around him continue to inspire a profound journey of compassion and advocacy,” CCH said in a release. 

It is the memory of Cody that inspired the creation of Cody’s Puzzle Piece Foundation and the push to pass Cody’s Law, which allows medical designations on Wyoming driver’s licenses notifying first responders of underlying medical conditions in the event someone can’t communicate the information themselves in times of crisis, CCH says. 

Cody’s Puzzle Piece Foundation has advocated for sensory kits in emergency vehicles, which are thoughtfully designed to address a wide range of sensory needs. Each kit includes items like fidget toys, sunglasses, noise-canceling earmuffs, a weighted blanket and a communication card, per CCH. 

“These items are carefully selected to comfort individuals of all ages who may experience sensory challenges during emergencies,” CCH said in the release. “Sensory issues manifest in diverse forms, and no one-size-fits-all solution exists. Cody’s Puzzle Piece Foundation aims to provide a ‘piece to the puzzle’ for law enforcement and emergency workers when interacting with individuals who have sensory disorders.”

Per the release, CCH is the first to receive the sensory kits, but they won’t be the last. Cody’s Puzzle Piece Foundation is assisting in delivering the kits to ambulance services across the state. The foundation plans to help fund the restocking of the kits to ensure every emergency vehicle always has one ready. 

“The ultimate goal of this initiative is to protect individuals like Cody and the dedicated EMS staff, firefighters, police officers, and others who respond to emergencies,” CCH says. “While Cody had advocates during his fatal crash, not everyone may have that, and that needs to change.”

Sensory kits offer an invaluable avenue to assist those with sensory disorders to refocus, deescalate and advocate for their needs, per CCH. 

“Wyoming EMSC has taken a significant step towards ensuring the safety and well-being of those with sensory disorders, and Campbell County Health EMS is honored to be the first recipient of the sensory kits — delivered by Heather and Shawn from Cody’s Puzzle Piece Foundation,” CCH said in the release. “The foundation is committed to extending more support to communities and emergency services across Wyoming, carrying on Cody’s legacy of compassion and kindness.”

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