Province won't cover therapy costs for toddler paralyzed by blood clot
Published Wednesday, July 13, 2016 5:10PM PDT Last Updated Thursday, July 14, 2016 7:44AM PDT
A Kelowna family is looking to the community to help their toddler recover after she became paralyzed from the waist down.
Two-year-old Julia Grassmick woke up one morning in October 2015 unable to move her legs.
“Her lower body wasn’t moving at all. I tried to stand her up on her legs, and she couldn't stand, she just sort of buckled underneath me,” said Julia’s mother Melissa Grassmick.
After Julia underwent surgery, doctors found that a blood clot had compressed her spinal cord. Though doctors say it is unlikely that the toddler will walk again, her family refuses to accept the damning prognosis.
“We’ve seen people recover from it, so we have a lot of hope ourselves. You have to stay positive, you have to keep moving forward.” Melissa told CTV News. “If adults can do it, I don’t see why Julia can’t do it.”
One of those adults is 23-year-old Dhruv Kapoor who learned to walk again through intensive physical therapy after being hospitalized for seven months. His family opened the First Steps Wellness Centre after seeing a need for this type of clinic.
“It's very important to give hope to families, because I’ve seen my own family, it breaks my dad's heart, it breaks my mom's heart,” Kapoor said. “By being here at least we can hope for the future.”
Every week the Grassmick family travels from the Okanagan to Richmond where Julia spends four hours completing physical therapy sessions. The family says Julia is “a trooper” and movies, bubbles, stickers and toys work as distraction techniques during her therapy. The services, which cost $1700 dollars a month, are not covered by the government.
“It just makes me mad,” Julia's mother said. “Because if we want to see her actually recover, we have to pay for that ourselves. So that's been my biggest frustration.”
The B.C. government said children can be eligible for a combined annual total of 10 visits for chiropractic, massage therapy, naturopathy, physical therapy and non-surgical podiatry per year.
Grassmick said the government told her family that Julia is not eligible for the allotted 10 visits until she is of “school age” and when she does reach school age, the 10 visits will be used up quickly.
The family wants to take Julia to a Baltimore clinic that specializes in treating children with spinal cord injuries. A fundraiser has been set up to help pay for the two-week program, which costs more than $16,000.