GILBERT, AZ - Seven-year-old Andrew Burkhart can now run like other kids his age, due to stem cell treatments and donations from strangers.
Kellie Burkhart says her son was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy when he was 4 years old.
Cerebral palsy is a brain and nervous system disorder, which can cause motor disability in a child.
“He was tongue-tied at birth pretty significantly,” said Burkhart. “His tongue was connected up front, so that was the first really obvious.”
Burkhart says Andrew didn’t talk until he was 3 years old. He also suffered severe gastrointestinal issues.
At 4 years old he weighed 50 pounds and still was in diapers.
Traditional methods weren’t working so Kelli turned to a doctor in California.
“The doctor said we should do bone marrow from Andrew’s own hip. So he, the doctor, processed Andrew’s stem cells and then put it back into him through an IV,” said Burkhart.
“It was like God’s hand touched him and turned on a switch. His GI system was fixed and within a week, he was potty trained within a month,” said Burkhart.
Insurance companies consider the stem cell therapy out of pocket. Each summer the family spends around $28,000 for Andrew’s treatments.
Andrew's dad is a math teacher at Hamilton High School. When his students learned about Andrew’s condition, they started raising money so he could get treatments.
Burkhart says it’s been overwhelming the support they’ve gotten from complete strangers as well as her husband’s students.
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