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A triumphant five-year-old Alexzander Prado gives onlookers the peace sign as he walks hands-free for the very first time at Abilities Expo Southern California thanks to Prime Engineering's KidWalk. ...
SANTA MONICA, Calif., June 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Sunday, May 31, 2009, will live in the hearts and minds of everyone whose tears of joy followed 5-year-old Alexzander Prado's amazing feat at the Southern California Abilities Expo (www.abilitiesexpo.com) in the Anaheim Convention Center. This was the day that a triumphant little boy overcame his congenital cerebral palsy to walk hands-free for the very first time. It was also the day that two strangers, so touched by what they saw, bought Alexzander the miracle walker that will change his life forever.
In the final hours of this thirty-year-old, three-day trade show for people with disabilities, the perfect storm was brewing. Desiree Trujillo, Alexzander's mother, had just arrived at the event with Alexzander and her brother, Dustin.
Mary and Bruce Boegel, co-owners of Prime Engineering, were demonstrating their KidWalk, a revolutionary walker that differs from other devices because it secures the child from the back, leaving the front of their body open and their arms free.
Joe Hallock and Gregg Weinschrieder, co-owners of SleepSafe Beds, in an adjacent booth, were winding down after three exhausting days of showing their safe beds.
Miss Trujillo was drawn to the Prime Engineering booth by a picture of a little girl in a mobility device the likes of which she had never seen before. It was drastically different from the wheelchair and traditional walker that her son was currently using. Once Mr. Boegel fitted Alexzander to test drive the KidWalk, the boy's excitement was palpable. "He had the biggest smile from ear to ear," said Miss Trujillo, "He lifted up his knee and as soon as I saw that first step, I just started crying because I'd never seen that before. It was just so amazing."
"She was overwhelmed," Mrs. Boegel said of Alexzander's mother. "She was realizing the possibilities of how he would be able to engage in his world."
Exhilarated by his newfound independence, Alexzander gave the gathering crowd of onlookers an exuberant thumbs-up and challenged his mother to a race. "He kept saying, 'I'm doing it, Mommy, I'm doing it. I'm walking!...I'm strong!'" Miss Trujillo recounts.
Witnessing the child's profound transformation, Mr. Hallock and Mr. Weinschrieder made a decision. "[My partner] looked at me and I looked at him and he said, 'So, I guess we oughta,'" recalls Mr. Hallock. They would buy this walker for little Alexzander so that he could take it home with him.
"As the saying goes, in your time on this planet, if you can improve the life of one person, then you will truly have been deemed a success," said Mr. Hallock. "So, we're just trying to be successful."
Miss Trujillo was floored by the news that her son would never have to give up this device that had, in no time at all, completely opened up his world. "I couldn't believe it. I've never even met these people before," she said. "And they just bought him this very expensive piece of equipment to help him get around and change his life...They are definitely angels."
David Korse, president and CEO of Abilities Expo, said, "We are honored to play a small part in setting the stage for this modern-day miracle. Far from a typical trade show, Abilities brings together cutting-edge, life-enhancing - and in this case life-changing - technologies with people who genuinely care. Our hats are off to the SleepSafe and Prime Engineering owners whose actions were truly inspiring."
Alexzander's Brave New World
"I still can't believe it," says Desiree Trujillo, a single mom who is pursuing a degree in Human Services and works part-time as a YMCA program specialist.
In the days since the SoCal Abilities Expo, Miss Trujillo marvels at Alexzander's broadening horizons and revels in the simple pleasures the kindness of strangers has afforded them. Mother and son can now walk hand-in-hand and play catch thanks to what Alexzander proudly calls "my new green walker."
In the past, when his preschool friends would run up to greet him, Alexzander would hold on to his traditional walker while they gave him a hug. Now, he can hug back. Miss Trujillo says she still can't get over seeing Alex confidently grab heavy toys off the shelf at school with two hands.
Alexzander's plans include playing soccer, picking flowers and playing at the park. "He's going to do so much more new stuff," she said. "I just can't wait."
About Abilities Expo
Abilities Expo is the nation's leading event for people with disabilities, their families, caregivers and healthcare professionals. For the past three decades, the Community has gathered at Abilities Expos all over the country to discover the latest, life-enhancing products and services and learn from relevant, free workshops. Dynamic, CEU-earning sessions are available for healthcare professionals. On the industry side, Abilities Expo is the premiere trade show for manufacturers, distributors and service providers to showcase their products and services directly to the end-user and professional healthcare providers. For more information, visit www.abilitiesexpo.com.
SOURCE Abilities Expo