Isla’s Wish to Walk has generated attention and support from people across the state to help four-year-old Isla Grote and her family with her battle against cerebral palsy. The community in Kirksville and at Truman State is no exception, especially because her older sister, alumna Lauren Grote, graduated from Truman during 2015.
Members of Alpha Sigma Gamma are raising money to help Isla achieve her dream of walking.
Isla was born with neonatal lupus, which causes brain swelling, and in Isla’s case, the diagnosis of spastic diplegia cerebral palsy, which is a form of CP that mostly affects her legs, according to the Isla’s Wish to Walk website.
CP is a non-progressive motor skills disorder that cannot be treated without surgery or therapy, according to the website.
During August 2014, Isla underwent spinal surgery called selective dorsal rhizotomy, according to the website. Although the surgery increased her chances of walking independently, it left her family covering $50,000-$90,000 out-of-pocket, according to the website.
Shortly after this, Isla’s Wish to Walk campaign was launched to raise money for the surgery and therapy Isla needs. Isla’s older sister Lauren Grote, a former ASG member, said her sister Alaina Grote launched the campaign for Isla’s Wish to Walk after Isla’s surgery and was the mastermind behind the entire campaign.
After talking about Isla’s surgery and physical therapy with other students, Lauren Grote said other ASG members encouraged her to discuss possible fundraising options at an ASG meeting. She said even though she suggested the idea, it was students who made the fundraising at Truman successful.
Lauren Grote said Truman has redefined how she sees human generosity, and the response from others has exceeded her expectations. Lauren Grote said Isla, who she describes as smart, sassy, creative and fearless, has advanced to occasionally using canes, walkers and hiking sticks to help her walk. She said the goal is for Isla to walk without canes or a wheelchair.
“She’s got so much to show off because she really has improved so much,” Lauren Grote said. “The difference is incredible. The therapy is really working, and everyone has been so supportive. It’s making her stronger.”
Lauren Grote said last year ASG hosted a spaghetti dinner event at Bellacino’s with a percentage of the proceeds going toward the campaign. Lauren Grote said she and her family attended the event and will come to Kirksville from their hometown in Springfield, Missouri, Feb. 19 for this year’s events.
Although Kirksville is a small town, Lauren Grote said members of the Kirksville and Truman community have been warm, welcoming and overwhelmingly supportive in helping her family and Isla.
Lauren Grote said Isla is looking forward to coming to Kirksville this year because she loves all the attention she gets from the students attending the events.
The events will include a pancake dinner 4:30-7 p.m. Feb. 21 in the Ryle Hall main lounge, a bake sale 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 22-24 in Magruder and Missouri halls, and a Bellacino’s night 5-9 p.m. Feb. 22.
For those going to the Bellacino’s night, Bacandreas said they must mention they are there for ASG Isla’s Wish to Walk event.
For more information about Isla’s Wish to Walk, pick up a copy of this week’s Index or click here to read on Issuu.