Golfers gathered at Sunset Ranch Golf Club on Sunday for the second annual fundraiser aimed at helping a West Kelowna preschooler walk again.
When Julia Grassmick was 17 months old, she suffered a spinal cord injury caused by a blood clot.
Now, the annual fundraiser is held to provide Julia with the best equipment and therapy so that she has the best chance at recovery.
“She woke up one morning and all of a sudden she couldn’t sit, stand or walk,” Melissa Grassmick, Julia’s mother, said.
“We were thinking, ‘Is she going to have all the same opportunities that she would have otherwise had? Is she going to be able to ride bikes with her friends and play like all the other kids?'”
Doctors in B.C. told the Grassmicks that Julia would not walk again.
However, her family hasn’t given up hope and has sought medical advice in the United States.
Melissa has also stopped working to focus on daily therapy with Julia in the hopes that the four-year-old will one day be able to walk unassisted again.
“She is trying to get up and moving and using her legs again, which she can do with the use of a brace. She is not able to do it on her own yet, but that is what we are working toward,” Melissa said.
They regularly travel to a clinic in Baltimore that specializes in paediatric spinal cord injuries.
“That is where I learn everything that I need to know to do the therapy at home,” Melissa explained.
“I really enjoy going there and having them assess her to tell me how far she has come since the last time we were there,” she said.
Julia walked for just over 10 weeks before her injury, and Melissa hopes to see her walk unassisted again.
“But even if she can walk again 60 per cent of the way and maybe she still needs some bracing or crutches or a walker, that’s fine,” Melissa said.
“I just want her to be as independent and as happy as possible.”
However, the treatment and therapy are costly so the family appreciates the support they are receiving from the golf fundraiser.
“It’s amazing, the community and our friends and family really come together. It’s all about Julia and we are so lucky to have everybody here,” said Melissa.
Last year’s event raised $26,000, and Melissa is hoping to match that amount this year.
—With files from Klaudia Van Emmerik and Jules Knox