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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – A local 14-year-old boy is scheduled to have emergency back surgery on December 2nd, so a fundraiser has been created to alleviate potential stress on his family.
In a GoFundMe fundraising page created Friday, Trish Baker says her sister, Mandy Gallant, received a call last week about her son Devin’s surgery. Rods will be installed in his back due to scoliosis caused by Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA).
Devin was diagnosed with SMA, a genetic condition that causes muscle weakness and atrophy, when he was only three years old and has been in a wheelchair ever since.
“When your child has SMA, there’s a breakdown of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. The brain stops sending messages that control muscle movement,” says the fundraising page.
His mother says the original diagnosis Devin was given was a type 2/3 that changed to a type 3 as he started to walk, which isn’t covered by the Province. Mandy says she has fought for three years to make provincial funding available for those with SMA.
The Gallants describe themselves as a sports family, which Mandy believes is part of Devin’s success. His passion for sports and being active helped his ability to walk, however, it is only for five to 10 steps before he needs a break.
“Over time, [doctors] say Devin is gonna lose all of his muscles and then just be firmly in his wheelchair,” said Mandy. “Picture an elastic band, like those big elastic bands. They said picture one of those and picture as your child grows, you’re stretching that elastic band, and then all of a sudden you stretch that elastic band so far that it just snapped. That’s what’s going to happen to his muscles.”
Two years ago, Devin’s wheelchair ran over his ankle, resulting in him being in a cast, and Mandy believes the atrophy “took over” and worsened due to his inactivity.
The family will need to travel to Vancouver five times because of his surgery and are worried about having their home accessible for Devin if he cannot walk after the surgery, which doctors say is a possibility.
“He’s such a determined little boy, we’re gonna fight so that he can at least get his five to 10 steps back,” says Mandy.
Not only does the family need funds for needed equipment, and travel, Mandy just had surgery on her back, so her husband, Eric, has been away from work and will continue doing so during Devin’s recovery.
“This is going to be a long, difficult road ahead for them, and the funds raised will be going towards this family while they try to manage this next chapter in their life. I’m asking if you can please help in any way you can. Any donation is greatly appreciated. Please keep Devin in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you so much,” reads the GoFundMe.
Anyone looking to donate to help the Gallant family can click here.
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