COLUMBUS, Ga. - Having one child with autism can be a challenge, but can you imagine having four?
That is an everyday reality for a Columbus doctor whose wife died suddenly two years ago.
However, there is a new blessing for the family, and she fits right in.
FOX 5 visited the Malone family at their home where they are making life work with autistic quadruplets one day at a time.
The Malone family comes together for a winning huddle every day.
Doctor and father Michael Malone is determined to create the best life possible for his 15-year-old quadruplets William, Sean, Chase and Dylan, who are all on the autistic spectrum.
All this while big brother Mike is off studying at Stanford University.
By their own admission, it is a "messy, crazy, beautiful" life.
"As I try to explain to people, unless you are going through whatever it is that you’re going through, you don’t really have it. You don’t really have a grasp of what’s going on," said Dr. Malone.
The Malone family shares its "messy, crazy, beautiful" life raising quadruplet sons with autism. (FOX 5)
The family’s world turned upside down when Dr. Malone’ wife, Kelly, died suddenly two years ago.
Reporter: "So, you think the stress of managing the boys had something to do with her death?"
Dr. Malone: "Absolutely."
However, he reconnected with an old college friend and former teacher, Gina Cheatham, who has become Team Malone’s general manager.
It takes a staff of six to bathe, dress, feed, and manage the boys 24 hours a day.
"You can’t be afraid to say, ‘My child’s autism is nothing wrong.’ With that, there’s no shame in that. You’ve got to increase awareness and if you don’t tell somebody they don’t know," said Gina Cheatham.
The guys go to public school and catch the bus every morning, despite three of the four being non-verbal
Thanks to Cheatham, they are now having brunch at the nearby country club and remain seated at the table. They even attended a Hawks game recently.
"That’s where the state of Georgia kind of gets it, because with comp-waiver there’s this, what they call, the self-directed approach, where they allow for the staff to take the boys into the community, so they’re constantly in motion," said Cheatham.
Dr. Malone says he shared his story because he wants people to know there are resources in Georgia that can improve your quality of life.