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Diego on the go
Published Thursday, October 6, 2011 5:57PM MDT
When we first interviewed Diego Van Der Penner and his family last November they were struggling to keep up with medical costs.
Diego has Goldenhar Syndrome and requires constant medical attention.
The little boy is a typical 2-year-old and is always on the go.
"He has a few gadgets other kids don't have and so he's curious and doesn't want them there so he up and pulls them," laughs Diego's mother, Xamara Lemus.
Diego's condition affects the development of his face and because of this, he struggles to eat and breathe.
He needs to be monitored 24 hours a day and with rising medical costs the family feared they would lose their home. ‘We were in so much trouble," said Lemus.
After our story aired last year, Lemus says a number of people offered to help including Damir Kolakovic.
Kolalovic has two children of his own and says Diego's story moved him.
"I just felt I needed to help them that's all. I started calling people the next morning and at noon everybody said yes," said Kolalovic.
Kolakovic and his team set to work transforming the family's basement into a suite so they could rent it out for extra income.
Lemus says she was speechless, "How do you thank somebody that's giving your son what you cannot give him? You tell me how I thank these people in our time of need."
While Diego still has a long road ahead and several more surgeries, his mother says his prognosis is good.
Diego's family is now saving for appliances for their basement suite and hope to rent it out in the next few months.
A trust fund has been set up at the CIBC to help cover Diego's medical expenses:
Account Number: 0377635
Transit Number: 02929