David Bruce Belcher was born October 17, 1969, and adopted two weeks later into the family of Allison and Robert Belcher of Portland. At four months, he had his first seizure and as he grew older, he experienced multiple daily seizures. After extensive testing, he was also diagnosed with cerebral palsy and mental retardation. His medical condition was finally determined to be the result of a rare genetic abnormality. Until the age of seven, David remained at home and first attended the Westside School, then the Portland Public Schools. His entire family, including his sisters Rachel and Sarah and brother Michael Tige, cared for him. Neighborhood children accepted and loved him, and through their experience with David grew to better understand the special qualities of other people. Eventually his medical condition required full-time care and he went to live at the Kerr Center for Children in Lake Oswego, where he received special education through the Lake Oswego School District. Later as a near-quadriplegic, he became a resident of Rest Harbor Extended Care.
During his twenty-three years, in spite of many hospital emergency trips, frequent pain and need for tube feeding, David’s resilient spirit and contagious smile touched many. His caregivers often said his eyes were “filled with love and joy.” David’s strong will enabled him to live far beyond medical expectations. At twenty-two, he received a special high school graduation diploma. He inspired those who cared for him with his courageous and responsive efforts. And when he could, David shared his joyful awareness at birthdays and church services. After a long illness his life was celebrated by a Requiem Mass on June 29, 1994, with a large circle of family and friends at St. Philip the Deacon Episcopal Church.
The David Bruce Belcher Scholarship Fund was established for the training of professionals in nursing, special education, and therapy (physical, speech and occupational)as a legacy of David Bruce Belcher and the caregivers who comforted him. This fund reflects David’s rare spirit and bright love in its support of those who seek to further their nurturing skills in nursing, therapy, and special education.