4/1/11

Marcelo is making excellent progress! Over the last two weeks, he has been walking on his own more and more. A few mornings ago, we were shocked to find Marcelo sitting on the sofa watching television before any of us got up. When we asked him how he got there, he looked at us and smiled.

Although Marcelo’s walking is big news, some other news has been grabbing our attention lately. As a manager at Kane’s Furniture, I received some tickets to the April 5 Tampa Bay Rays home game. A friend of ours has a friend who knows Evan Longoria, the Rays’ star third baseman. When Evan was told that Marcelo was going to be at the game, he immediately wanted to meet with Marcelo down at the batting cages before the game.

How awesome is that!

Marcelo is very excited. On top of all that great news, a St. Petersburg Times reporter and photographer will be there doing some background on an upcoming article. If you are watching television Tuesday night, make sure to look behind home plate to see Marcelo with his Mom, Paola. Just look for the big smiles.

Don’t forget to spread the word and let everyone know about the game and our efforts to raise funds for Marcelo’s therapies. We’ll keep you posted on the events of the game!!!! Go Rays!!!!

 

Thank you,

A proud father

 

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3/22/11

Marcelo just finished his Therasuit therapies with some great successes and gains. His confidence level has been getting better and he is mostly getting up out of chairs without assistance now. What a success Therasuit was! Marcelo was able to get consistent, hard work done over a three-hour period. Of course it was costly, but we will do anything for Marcelo!

Mom made it a point a couple weeks ago never to help him walk on his right side any longer because he was leaning to the right and not walking forward. So, everytime he walks we now only help him on his left side which forces him to be more independent in his walking and balance himself while freeing up his right arm/hand to catch himself if he feels he is losing his balance.

With the help of some friends, the garage has been turned into a workout room. Mom hooks up the E-Stem (electronic stimulation) machine to his left leg and put Marcelo on the treadmill and works for hours on end just trying to get Marcelo to walk with a smooth gate and shift his weight from left to right. This is a very tedious process, but worth the hard work.

Please don’t forget about Marcelo. Many of you have given more than you can afford, and we are eternally grateful. But please forward this website to anyone that you know can help us. Right now Marcelo is not getting the intense therapies he needs because we truly cannot afford it. The only one who suffers is Marcelo though.

Thank you,
A proud father

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3/03/11

Marcelo and mom travelled to Largo yesteday, as they do five days per week, to go to his Therasuit therapies. This is the type of therapy that Marcelo really needs; three hours per day of intense working. We have seen some real progress in his core strength and his awareness. After his therapies, he read about 12 pages from the FCAT website. He is doing much better with that too.

This is the hard work that Marcelo needs everyday for months and months in the future. Mom is brilliant in the field now and has opened my eyes to the devastating reality of brain injuries and how our insurance system is unwilling to provide the appropriate care. Thousands of people with brain injuries never receive the rehabilitation necessary to improve a patient’s life. It is a quiet tragedy.

Marcelo’s Therasuit therapy cost the family over $3,000 out of pocket, but it will be ending soon. Afterward, we are looking to put him in something called Bioness, which of course his mother finds to be groundbreaking, and the insurance company can’t find at all. This therapy, apparently, is only for those with large bank accounts. Although Marcelo’s family does not have a large bank account, it does have a large heart that is ready to do anything it takes to get him in the best therapies.

The donations Marcelo has received have been great and we are now over $4,000, and would love to keep the momentum going. Send the link to everyone you know! If everyone gives $5 or $10, Marcelo and his mother will be eternally grateful!

Thank you,
A proud father

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2/24/11

2/24/2011

Marcelo and mom went to do Hyperbaric treatments early this morning while I took the girls to school. Afterward, Marcelo and mom drove to Largo for the very expensive rehabilitation called Therasuit which lasts three hours. Afterward, his home-bound teacher comes at 3:45-5:45. It’s a busy day.

Therasuit, of course, is not covered under Marcelo’s therapy. It’s not cheap either, the cost was over $3,000 which is well above and beyond anything the family can afford. Mom is dedicated though and she will sacrifice everything to get him the treatments he needs. Mom has been an incredible blessing for Marcelo. She thinks with her heart and because of her, Marcelo gets the love and affection he needs. Can you imagine the stress and heart-break that is happening to this family? The mortgage is in decline, mom has been losing weight at a rapid rate and $3,000 is spent, when that money basically drains the entire family’s accounts?

Please help Marcelo. We have gained some momentum on the fundraising efforts by some people who have given more than what they can afford. We are very appreciative. Marcelo may even get a chance to meet Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays! There is also talk of an article in the St. Petersburg Times!

Rest assured, we will do anything we can to get Marcelo help.

http://community.babycenter.com/post/a26526303?scid=ddigest_body_20110223

www.giveforward.com/mystrongnephew

Thank you,
A proud father

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Marcelo Rehab 2/16/11

2/16/11
I had the day off again today and was able to spend some time with him. We had all three therapies today AND his homebound teacher came. Afterward, Marcelo and I played his favorite video game… Medal of Honor: Rising Sun (before doing a plethora of exercises).

Because his left arm is not functional yet, due to the injury to the right side of his brain, Marcelo and I have to work together when we play Rising Sun. He does the right hand, I do the left hand. I have to admit, I love playing with him, but I want to one day play against him again. That would mean he would have to use both his right and left hands on the joystick.

The muscles in Marcelo’s left arm are at regular strength, but the signals that come from his brain and the nerves inbetween are not connecting accurately. If we ask him to squeeze his fingers, his entire arm tightens up.

Once again, he can regain almost full capability in his left arm as long as he get the correct treatment. And the right amount of it. This is a very critical time and he can make the best headway against his deficits now, but without the right amount of moneys for rehabilitation, his muscles will become full of atrophy, his wrist will curl into his chest and he will never be able to use it for anything.

Please consider helping my son.

I started a Facebook page in his name today. Maybe that will get more attention for him.

Thank you,
A proud father

 

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Rehab with my son 2/15/11

2/15/11
Today I was able to go to Physical Therapy and Speech Therapy with Marcelo. At Physical Therapy, they had him on all fours and practicing to shift his weight from left arm to right leg, then right arm to left leg. Just the act of crawling is something very difficult for him to do.

This is where it can be confusing. I will try and make it quick and easily understood:
Marcelo absolutely has the muscle power and physical capability of crawling, but due to his injury, his brain is not communicating well with extremeties. Because of what neuorologists call the “neglect of his brain toward his left side,” the act of moving his left arm and right leg forward is not understood and must be relearned.

To relearn this is absolutely possible, it just takes time and LOTS of practice. Now, if his brain gets jumbled up when he crawls on all fours, just imagine trying to walk!

I will discuss more about Marcelo’s condition so everyone who visits the sites has an better understanding of it, but just know that with the right amount of rehabilitation and attention, Marcelo can walk again. He can do it! We know he can! But we need help.

He needs YOU.

Thank you,
A proud father

 

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NOTE FROM THE FAMILY:

Thank you for stopping by and thank you for keeping Marcelo in your prayers. We wouldn’t wish this upon anyone, but having to ask for help is something his family believes is absolutely necessary to give him the best chance.

When Gabrielle Giffords (Arizona House of Representative) was tragically shot, she was sent to TIRR Memorial Institute for Rehabilitation in Houston, Texas. Fortunately for her, she is covered under our government’s insurance.

That is not the case for Marcelo. Under Marcelo’s insurance, he is only covered for about 3 hours per week each in Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy and a couple hours per week in Speech Therapy. Due to the extent of Marcelo’s head injury, he needs much more time with trained therapists in intense rehabilitation. He needs closer to three hours per day of each. Unfortunately for many Americans, this is not covered. The health care system would just assume Marcelo be content with living in a wheelchair for the rest of his life than offer the rehabilitation necessary to help him the most.

The help he needs costs money, and lots of it. For instance, a three-week therapy he will be entering in the coming weeks costs more than $2,000. That is $2,000 out of pocket. $2,000 the family does not have.

E-Stem machines, Z-Vibes, thousands of dollars in exercise equipment… All of this costs a lot of money too. But because his mother has had to take time off of work to give Marcelo the care he needs, the family’s income is suffering. His father works as a General Manager at a local furniture, but that salary alone is not enough to cover mortgage, insurances, car payments, food, gas, phone, utilities and living expenses.

As mentioned previously, we wouldn’t wish this on anyone. Having to ask for help is very humbling, but we can only think of Marcelo’s chances and we can only think of Marcelo’s future.

Please go to http://www.giveforward/mystrongnephew and give $100, or give $50 or give $20 if that’s all you can afford. Every single dollar that is collected will go directly to Marcelo and his care.

Please consider helping him, everything we do is “For Marcelo.”

 

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