By Ashley Yarchin
St. Louis (KSDK) - To most, his goals may have seemed simple. Sixteen-year-old Christian Izquierdo wanted to walk better, run, and just jump.
His parents knew that would require a great leap of faith for them and their son with cerebral palsy. So, they traveled from south Florida to St. Louis, to begin on January 27th, what has become Christian's Crusade.
At eight-months-old Christian was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
"We just want the best for him, like any parent. So, we're here now because I guess it's God's will that he have a different quality of life," said his mom, Adriana Shashaty.
It's a life Dr. T. S. Park, the hospital's chief of pediatric neurosurgery, has helped give to close to 2,400 children with cerebral palsy worldwide. He's refined what's called selective dorsal rhizotomy. He snips some sensory nerves in the back to relieve some of the tension or stiffness in his patients' bodies; a $32,000 surgery not covered by most out-of-state insurance companies.
It's the reason Christan's Crusade went public with a plea for donations online.
After the surgery and some physical therapy, Christian returned to Florida, but four months later he would have to return for a follow-up.
Running is now part of Christian's daily routine, and not only that, but he can even jump in the pool.
Dr. Park said he saw improvements in bodily function, behavior, and even speech.
Of course, Christian's parents did, too.
"He says, I want to be a father and I want to be an occupational therapist and I want to have babies, so he knows and he sees himself somewhere in the future having a future," added Adriana.