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Brandon & South Shore News

Freedom To Walk Foundation celebrates another successful gala

Claudia and Terry McCutcheon eagerly awaited the arrival of their second child five years ago to join their older daughter Tiffany.

Claudia's first pregnancy had gone smoothly so they reasonably expected the same the second time around.

That changed drastically when doctors diagnosed Claudia with severe Placenta Previa. Magnus was born premature and spent the first seven months of his life in the NICU. Doctors diagnosed him with chronic lung disease, severe bronchial pulmonary dysplasia, cerebral palsy. He's also on the autism spectrum.

Furthermore, Magnus also suffers from "foot drop," a gait abnormality that forces one to hobble and trip. Foot drop is not a disease in itself but a result of other neurological, muscular or anatomical problems such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, stroke, spinal cord injury or, in the case of Magnus, traumatic brain injury.

So, when the Freedom To Walk Foundation held its sixth annual gala Oct. 6, it opened a new world for Magnus, now 5, with the donation of a WalkAide, a device that helps people overcome the debilitating ailment of Foot Drop. The WalkAide stimulates the nerve endings so the foot regains feeling. Although the device is FDA approved, it is not covered by insurance and costs around $5,000.

"Soon he will be able to pick out his own shoes, walk, and run, like a normal 5 year old." Claudia said.

"He has come a long way and this will change his life" added father Terry. Both parents were overwhelmed with gratitude and thanks.

The foundation celebrated the gala with a theme of "Havana Nights" at the Centre Club with a professional cigar roller and entertainment by the Fred Astaire Dance Studios.

Daisy Vega, who suffers from foot drop as a result of having multiple sclerosis, runs the foundation. She purchased a WalkAide years ago, but wanted to help others who couldn't buy the device. Her work has helped a number of people get the device, including Emily Zmoda, who gave the keynote address at the gala.

Contact Karla Gibson at [email protected]

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