Paralyzed toddler's family determined to prove doctors wrong
Kent Molgat and Kendra Mangione, CTV Vancouver
Published Tuesday, October 18, 2016 6:10PM PDT
The family of a toddler paralyzed by a blood clot is determined to prove the girl's doctors wrong, but they need help.
A year ago, little Julia Grassmick suffered a blood clot that damaged her spinal cord and left her paralyzed. Doctors told Julia's parents that the tot would never walk again, but they've refused to accept the prognosis.
The province wouldn't cover therapy costs until she is of "school age," but the Kelowna family didn't give up, spending $1,700 a month on physiotherapy at a private clinic in Richmond.
"If you don't do the therapy then of course nothing will happen, but if you do it then it might happen, so why wouldn't you?" her mother Melissa said.
The Grassmicks learned about a clinic in Baltimore that specializes in treating children with spinal cord injuries, so they started an online fundraiser to help cover the costs. They raised $11,000, and flew their daughter to Maryland for tests last month.
Experts at the Maryland clinic tried different exercises on the girl, now 2.5 years old, and said they'd felt her glutes, lower abdominal muscles and lower back move on their own during certain movements.
Encouraged by the news, the family is now setting up a special home gym for Julia so they can continue her therapy in Canada. Even if the therapy doesn't help her to regain movement, they are hopeful that it will help Julia be ready for future advancements.
"Not only is it good for her ultimate recovery because it's trying to retrain those things, but it also is going to keep her body strong so that it doesn't atrophy and waste away in the meantime," Melissa said.
But the family needs help. They need a special bike that uses electrical impulses to fire her muscles while her legs more. The bike costs $34,000.
So the Grassmicks are again trying to raise money online, this time so that Julia can continue her therapy at home.
Although the odds of recovery are low, the family is hoping for what they're calling a miracle.
"Why shouldn't a miracle happen to her?" Melissa said.
"She's strong, determined, independent. I mean if it's going to be anyone, it's going to be Julia."
The Grassmicks are less than halfway to their goal of $34,000, but remain hopeful, and thankful to anyone considering a donation.
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Kent Molgat