From the Ottawa Citizen:
Lamitta El-Roz loves sports, particularly basketball, but says there are two reasons she can’t play right now: First, there’s snow on the ground outside; and, second, she’s not allowed to play basketball indoors.
A six-year-old with a smile that could almost melt the snow around her Stittsville home, Lamitta neglects to mention that she was born with cerebral palsy after a pregnancy that lasted just 28 weeks. She weighed just over two pounds then, and spent the first 54 days of her life in an incubator. She can’t walk. In fact, she has almost no gross motor skills control, the thing that would let her crawl or throw a ball.
There was some brain damage at birth, explain her parents, Robbie El-Roz and Maya Taleb, that caused the cerebral palsy. Along the way, Lamitta has developed numerous additional medical complications: kidney stones, asthma, visual impairment, acid reflux and, recently, anxiety (when her Grade 1 physical support program class at Centennial Public School learned about Terry Fox, Lamitta started to worry she might lose body parts, a concern heightened when she accidentally swallowed her first baby tooth).
Help could be on the way. Lamitta’s parents learned two weeks ago that, after looking at all her medical records, Dr. T.S. Park, a specialist in pediatric neurosurgery, believes Lamitta is a good candidate for selective dorsal rhizotomy surgery. It’s a procedure he’s successfully performed thousands of times, and Park has agreed to perform it on her.
The catch is that Park works out of the St. Louis Children’s Hospital, in Missouri. The procedure isn’t performed in Ontario, and while OHIP claims to cover the procedure, it only does so if the application is accompanied by a letter from a specialist, something that numerous families in Ontario have said they can’t get.
And so El-Roz and Taleb have launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise $100,000. If OHIP agrees to cover the cost of the operation, El-Roz says he’ll either lower their target amount or, if they’ve already reached it or come close, donate any excess funds to the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre.