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Beam Brings High School Student to Class While She Fights Cancer

The ability to be in two places at once can literally be a lifesaver - especially for those facing health-related issues that prohibit them from easily or safely leaving their homes. Telepresence solutions like Beam can offer this much needed mobility and freedom of movement outside of the home or care setting, facilitating healing for some of the most pervasive side effects of sickness, including isolation, loneliness, and disconnection.

For the estimated 10- to 20-percent of children in the US with chronic illnesses, as well as those facing other significant health compromises like autoimmune diseases or physical disabilities, one of the most gratifying ways we see telepresence change lives is when those with promising futures are able to continue their education, even in the face of illness.

How Beam helps a sick student stay connected

For 15-year old Ari Burris, a sophomore at Blue Valley High School in Overland Park, KS, Beam came to the rescue after a devastating ovarian cancer diagnosis this past summer. Between chemotherapy treatments and a compromised immune system, her options for returning to school seemed bleak… until her dad Brian, considered Beam.   

Now, as featured in a recent story on Fox4 KC, “Ari-bot” allows the honors student to attend class and participate in hands-on learning experiences, like chemistry lab, at her high school.  Classmates and teachers - not to mention Ari’s twin sister Belle, who assists Ari-bot at school - are able to have easy, natural interactions with Ari as she receives treatments.

A study in relief

Always an excellent student, Ari’s concerns immediately went not just to her health - but also to her studies. "I was worried. We found out late in the summer. How would that affect my school life and stuff?" Ari admitted to Fox4.

Today, not only does Ari regularly attend class, but she’s also been able to maintain close connections to her supportive high school community, thanks to Beam.

"It's helped me be able to stay in public schools and not have to be home-schooled," Ari told Fox4. "This allows me to see people. In class, if people come up to me, I'll try to answer."

"It's not like a robot to me. It's just Ari. I just have normal conversations with her, and I'll say, 'Hey, what's up.' I'll make a silly face and she'll text me and say, 'I saw that," added Emily Cummings, Ari's friend and classmate.

For Ari and her family, which includes four siblings, Aribot helps them feel like a “cohesive unit rather than being separated by sickness.” Knowing that she’s not missing out on her sophomore year of High School gives them all some peace of mind in a trying time.

Given all Ari has gone through, we’re so happy to be a part of the caring community that is rooting for her full recovery.

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