WATCH: The family of a little boy with Cerebral Palsy who needs a crucial surgery in order to walk again say they have received an outpouring of support after a Global News story highlighted the difficulties they’ve faced in getting the surgery covered. Christina Stevens reports.
TORONTO – Guelph parents raising money for their child’s surgery in the United States are well on their way following a Global News story.
Obsidian Group, which owns a number of restaurants, including Crabby Joe’s, raised $30,000 during its annual golf tournament.
Then the company’s president and his wife saw 3-year-old Bentley Mitchell, who suffers from Cerebral Palsy, on Global News.
His parents want to take him to St. Louis for a specialized surgery which is expected to allow him to walk independently.
They have been fundraising to cover the expected $100,000 for the surgery and related expenses.
“You guys had the story of Bentley and his family and it touched our hearts,” said Gus Karamountzos.
His wife said they knew they had to do something.
“As a mother, when I saw Melissa going on TV and asking for help for her child, it just kind of broke my heart,” said Helen Karamountzos.
They decided to donate all of the money raised in their golf tournament to Bentley’s surgery.
“For a complete stranger to want to donate this to my son is just beyond my comprehension. Someone with a big heart does something like this,” said Melissa Mitchell, Bentley’s mom.
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VIDEO: Ontario family has to raise $100,000 for surgery so their boy can walk
Melissa and Bentley attended the tournament dinner where they were presented with a cheque.
They had no idea it would be such a significant sum.
Then it grew bigger as Karamountzos’ friends and family members who were at the dinner took up the cause.
Several wrote personal cheques, including one for $5,000.
Then one man stood up with a $100 bill and challenged the other guests to match his donation.
By the end of the evening, they had raised a total of about $41,000.
“It started with being sad at the beginning and now that I’ve seen them (Melissa and Bentley) it’s a great feeling,” said Gus Laramountzos.
Global News has been made aware of at least ten families in the same situation as the Mitchells.
SDR surgery is an insured service that OHIP will pay for. However, a specialist must sign forms saying the child is a good candidate for the surgery.
The families say doctors in Ontario have stopped the approval forms and refuse to even assess their children.
As a result they have to raise money to pay for the surgery themselves.
Bentley’s mom said he already believes he can walk, now they are one step closer to making it happen, thanks to Karamountzos.
“What I owe to this family is, we will be forever grateful thank you so much.”