HUDSON — “We have scheduled a trip for Derek!”
A Hudson youngster diagnosed with cerebral palsy has been accepted for stem-cell replacement treatment at the Tiantan Puhua International Hospital in Beijing, China.
Derek Grabast, the son of Ken and Brenda Grabast of Hudson will undergo a stem-cell procedure to treat non-verbal autism and spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. The third-grader is unable to talk or walk. He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was two years old.
A previous stem-cell treatment scheduled at the XCell-Center in Dusseldorf, Germany was cancelled. Fundraising has enabled the Grabasts what they hope is a life-changing journey for Derek.
“We are cautiously optimistic. We’re excited that the door has opened back up,” Brenda said. “We were accepted into China last week, and have been working to get things lined out. Our Chinese visas have been applied for.”
After undergoing a physical evaluation, the stem-cell procedure extracts and treats patients with their own adult stem cells. The stem cells are removed from Derek’s hip, cleaned and checked for viability. The doctors perform multiple treatments (all done by lumbar puncture) and incorporate physical therapy into the treatment. Four or five treatments will be performed.
“It will be a long journey, with hopefully great results,” Brenda said. “The stem cells are taken to grow and multiply. They hope to inject 100 million stem cells.”
The two-day trip in August starts in Wichita and runs through Minnesota and Washington before a 15-hour flight to Beijing. Brenda and Derek will stay at the Tiantan Puhua International Hospital for six weeks. China is 13 hours time difference, which flip flops daytime into nighttime.
“Staying at the hospital will be convenient. Trying to figure out how to pack for up to six weeks is going to be a trick in itself,” she said. “I guess we will get there.”
A hospital representative meets the Grabasts at the Beijing airport. She will help Brenda and Derek register as visitors in the country.
“The people we’ve talked to have enjoyed good results and they’ve said everyone was very nice,” Brenda said.
Brenda operates a Facebook page and plans on updating Derek’s facebook page, “depending on whether or not I can figure out how to work an I-Pad.”
“Anyone can friend request me on Facebook, and I can add them to Derek’s page,” she said. “That way, everyone can see the progress. I am also trying to figure out how to get videos off my camera onto the I-Pad, so everyone can see his progress. Hopefully, I can become “IT” savy in the next few weeks.”
Ken and Brenda work at the Stafford County Flour Mill in Hudson.
“Our bosses have treated us like a member of their family,” Brenda said. “We are really appreciative.”