INDIANAPOLIS — Like any father trying to raise a family, Albert Baker II will tell you, it’s not easy.
“There are good days, bad days, ups and downs, struggles...but overall it’s a joy. It’s a great joy,” Albert said.
That joy comes with names, six of them in fact: Dorian, Elijah, Anthony, Jacob, Landon and Aaliyah – ages 17 to 1 year.
“They all have big hearts for each other, and we’re just all there caring for one another,” Albert said.
That caring goes a little further for Dorian, Anthony and Jacob. All three have muscular dystrophy and are in wheelchairs.
Doctors diagnosed all three boys when they were toddlers.
“It’s like a disease that pretty much deteriorates your muscles and your bones as well and over time. It just eats away at it to the point where you can’t do much at all,” Albert said.
One by one, Albert watched three of his sons, go from walking and running, to not being able to move.
“At one point, the doctor said by the age of 18, they might not even still be here on this earth because of the disease and how bad it is,” Albert said.
That’s why this father knows time is so precious with all of his children. He tries to make every moment with them count.
“When I look at them, I say to myself, ‘You know what? I’m going to be there for you. I’m going to be your hero. I’m going to do whatever it is, you need me to do,’” Albert said.
That’s meant getting a wheelchair ramp for his house. He’s still working on another for his ex wife’s home where the boys stay sometimes.
“We work together, hand in hand...all of us,” Albert said of his ex-wife and his fiancée.
Albert is also trying to find a wheelchair accessible van that’s big enough for three wheelchairs.
Right now, he has to lift his sons in and out of the car.
“They even talk to me and say, ‘Dad, we appreciate you. We love you for all that you do for us,’” Albert said.
Recently, Albert’s church recognized him as well, naming him “Man of the Year” for his dedication to his kids.
“It’s regular life for me, but when I got the award, I was...I was so humbled,” Albert said.
It’s his children though, who keep on going despite their physical challenges, that truly humble and inspire Albert every day.
“I’m doing whatever I can to support my children and take care of them, any way possible,” he said.