Gift of Mobility Program Brings Greater Freedom to Paralyzed Teenage Cancer Patient
SANTA ANA, Calif., Aug. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Described by his mother Gina Reyes as an amazing, quiet kid, a homebody who spends his good days playing Nintendo Wii or watching DVDs, 17-year-old Isaiah Reyes never complains about his serious medical problems.
However, Gina does wonder how her then 16-year-old son, who was found perfectly healthy at his annual physical one week, could become severely ill and paralyzed the next. The Reyes received a devastating medical diagnosis for their only son who had complained of headache, fever and a nosebleed. After rushing him to a hospital emergency room, they learned Isaiah had a blood clot on his brain and leukemia. While in surgery for the clot, he suffered a stroke and, in an instant, lost his independence and mobility. He requires around-the-clock care.
As if that were not enough, Isaiah's caretakers, an uncle and grandmother, were also diagnosed with cancer. Sadly, his uncle died in July. His grandmother continues to receive treatment. Cousins now provide Isaiah's care while his parents work to keep the family afloat.
Despite months of intensive physical and occupational therapy, Isaiah's muscles have atrophied. He is unable to use his left side. He has battled liver and kidney failure, and other complications resulting from the immune suppressing chemotherapy treatments. But he has rebounded since March, thanks to the caring doctors and other staff members at Children's Hospital in Orange County, California.
Gina Reyes' son has asked for a power wheelchair more than once, but with the family finances stretched, it was "something I wasn't able to do on my own," she said. To spare her son from disappointment and to encourage him to work harder, she told him he would not get one because she wanted him to walk instead. He didn't complain.
Although Gina could not provide her son a power wheelchair, The SCOOTER Store in partnership with Angel Wings International was able to grant his request -- ending Isaiah's confinement to his room, boosting his spirits and increasing his mobility for the challenges ahead.
Angel Wings International helps families cover the daily basics for up to three months, allowing the family to regroup and refocus. Angels Wings cannot change the diagnosis, but can make it easier for the family to adjust to a new situation.
An excited Isaiah smiled broadly as he received the power wheelchair presented today by The SCOOTER Store as part of its Gift of Mobility program.
"It's a sign of good things to come," said Gina, whose son now awaits a match for a bone marrow transplant and is scheduled for more chemotherapy in the weeks ahead. Unfortunately, his marrow did not match anyone's in his immediate family.
Doug Harrison, CEO and Founder of The SCOOTER Store, said, "Learning of Isaiah's plight through Angels Wings International reaffirmed the reasons why my wife and I started the Gift of Mobility program six years ago. We are happy to provide Isaiah with a power wheelchair and hope it will enhance his outlook and be the lift his spirit needs."
"Because Angels Wings International and The SCOOTER Store came together, Isaiah will be able to experience more freedom and independence," said Colleen Hartsock, President and CEO of Angels Wings International. "This demonstrates that even in times of economic struggles, people can make a difference when they work together for others who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in need."
Mr. Harrison and his wife, Susanna, started the Gift of Mobility program in December 2002 to help people such as Isaiah improve their quality of life by recovering their independence and mobility. Sin