A viral infection that started with a cough gave now 14-year-old Kieran Vermeulen the fight of his life.
Placed in a coma twice, Keiran suffered a brain injury which left him in a wheelchair, but he isn’t giving up.
He and his mom, Kelly Vermeulen-Jackson, can be found regularly exercising and receiving therapy at the new Children’s Cerebral Palsy program at Regina’s First Steps Wellness Centre.
“Getting him better, helping him recover, so that one day he can have quality of life and hopefully live independently one day,” Verleulen-Jackson said.
The program offers movement, exercise and special support equipment to help kids like Keiran increase their strength, range of motion and mobility.
“It really gives them and their family a chance to see a future that can help their kids reach more goals than they thought they could,” explained Sandi Marshall, manager and therapist at First Steps.
“You know, you go home and you’re thinking about your clients but not in a bad way, you are just excited to come back the next day and keep moving forward. So we are pretty lucky to have this here.”
The centre also includes rooms designed for kids with light and sound sensitivities.
Keiran is re-learning his movement with the support of people like Marshall.
“This place is amazing and he loves coming here, the therapists here are amazing, they are dedicated to helping him,” Vermeulen-Jackson said. “They have always given us hope.”
The Vermeulen-Jackson family pay for all their time at the centre themselves. Seen as too wealthy, they were unable to qualify for financial-aid and are no longer receiving care from Wascana Rehabilitation Centre.
Vermeulen Jackson isn’t willing to give-up and neither, it seems is Keiran.
“He just has that motivation that keeps pushing him forward,” Vermeulen-Jackson maintained. “My theory is you never give up on a kid.”