HUDSON — Ken and Brenda Grabast and their children will begin the journey of a lifetime the last weekend of May.
Thanks to a series of fundraisers, the Grabasts have surpassed their $25,000 goal to give their son a better chance for a quality life. Derek Grabast, 8, will undergo a stem-cell procedure in Germany. He was diagnosed with non-verbal autism and spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy when he was 27 months old.
“The people who have helped this miracle for Derek happen hold a very special place in our hearts,” Brenda Grabast said. “There’s no real way to say ‘thank you,’ that would express our true gratitude.”
Their international trip starts in Wichita and makes a stop in Atlanta, Ga. before they fly to Dusselsdorf, Germany.
The XCell-Center in Germany performs stem cell replacement and reports an 80 percent success rate for autism, a 70 percent success rate for cerebral palsy and a 60 percent success rate for reducing grand mal seizures.
Fundraisers included a bake sale, a prime rib dinner, a soup supper, a spaghetti dinner, a hog feed and a Texas
Hold ‘Em, Pitch Tournament.
Brenda said every fundraiser has exceeded expectations. The elementary school-children brought in $3,500 with change dropped in piggy banks. A soup supper on a warm evening delivered $800.
“It’s required a lot of work, but it’s far surpassed our expectations,” Brenda said. “I never would’ve guessed this would happen. It’s like guardian angels are pulling strings and it’s meant for Derek to get better. It feels incredible.”
Even when they got bad news when donations were stolen during a break-in at Mom’s Bar and Grill in Seward, there was more good news. A challenge at a hog feed immediately raised $250.
“They not only stole the money for Derek’s donation, but money, cigarettes and other items from the café,” Brenda said. “It broke my heart because owners Carolyn and George Devine have been like family to me for as long as I can remember. They are good people with big hearts.”
The fundraising went so well that Britani, Derek’s sister, will join the family on the journey.
“Britani wants to help her younger brother,” Brenda said.
The stem-cell procedure extracts and treats patients with their own adult stem cells. The stem cells are removed from a patient’s hip, cleaned and checked for viability. The cells are injected into the cerebral fluid of the brain where they take hold to form new brain stem cells.
Brenda learned about the procedure when she learned stem-cell treatment had delivered remarkable results for Christopher Schneweis, a youngster from Barton County.
“Now, there is a chance for Derek to get better and enjoy a better life,” Brenda said.
Doctor appointments are scheduled May 30-31. Stem cells are extracted June 1 and administered June 3.
“Everything is booked. We’re just preparing to go and hoping for good travel weather,” Brenda said.