We first introduced you to Gabriel on the blog in May of 2020. In a new “Throwback Thursday” series, we will revisit some of our more popular posts and share an update on the story. For our first Throwback Thursday, we are revisiting Gabriel’s story and sharing an update since our last post.
Gabriel is 16 years old. He came to our center in June of 2018, paralyzed from the neck down. Today, he is a walking miracle, and his story leaves us more in awe every day.
Sometime around January of 2018, Gabriel sustained an injury that crushed a vertebra in his neck and nearly severed his spinal cord. The exact history of his injury was unclear when he arrived at our center in June 2018, but we were told he fell, lost control of all of his bodily functions from his neck down, and was completely paralyzed. He joined the Hope Apartment, where he could receive the best care possible from our wonderful aunties in that apartment who had the training to meet his specific needs. Dr. Nicole McCauley, The Raining Season’s medical liaison, worked alongside nurse Sylvia Mansary to coordinate a care plan for Gabriel. Dr. McCauley also connected with other travelers to support Gabriel. He received chiropractic care as well as therapy in the early months after coming to our center. As time went on, Gabriel began to notice small movements in his toes and his arms. Though stiff, he could move.
Over the next several months, our staff, as well as teams, were able to witness Gabriel begin regaining movement in his extremities. Then one day, he sat up by himself. Shortly after, he was able to stand with the help of his caregivers, and his catheter was no longer necessary. He began gaining weight with the help of regular supplements and protein shakes specifically designed to target his nutritional deficiencies. Over the past four years, the healing that Gabriel experienced has been nothing short of a miracle. Slowly, he was able to be moved to a wheelchair for short outings around the center grounds. As he continued to heal and began to take his first steps, he was able to spend more extended periods of time outside of his apartment while using a walker. Eventually, he began attending devotions and even school. It wasn’t long before even the use of a walker was unnecessary.
Initially, it was believed that Gabriel would require surgery. However, in July 2020, Gabriel went for another scan to reevaluate his injury and update his care plan. Not only has Gabriel surpassed every expectation, but his 2020 scan also revealed that he may no longer require surgery. God is so good!
Today, Gabriel attends school outside of the center and is in grade 8. He has also become “one of the boys,” joining them in an apartment, attending school with them, and playing with them. Less than four years ago, Gabriel was completely bedridden. He has overcome so much and defied so many odds. Today, he gets to do what he enjoys with his friends, including dancing and playing soccer!
Gabriel recently shared this with his sponsors, “As for my health, I am doing so great. I have improved on my health. I can’t believe the Gabriel that was lying on the sickbed is the Gabriel that is walking now and doing amazing things that no one will expect. That is God. He is a miraculous God and a loving God.”
In June of 2018, the thought that Gabriel might one day play soccer again seemed impossible. But as we have witnessed time and time again, we serve a God who is powerful and faithful. He is the author of our kids’ stories, and we are so grateful for that.
Thank you to every single person who has prayed for and supported Gabriel. His story is far from finished, and we know he is destined for greatness.
The Raining Season