GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (KDVR) – A big community parade was held in Glenwood Springs in honor of a 12-year-old boy that has made major strides in his battle against adversity.
Turner Fautsko lives with a rare disorder and has been confined to a wheelchair for most of his life, at least that was the situation, until now.
For the first time, Turner is up and moving and it’s all thanks to the community and the kindness of strangers who raised thousands of dollars to buy him a robotic walker.
Cameras were rolling as he took his first steps in public with much anticipation and a lot of support. On June 23, an estimated 150 people gathered for a special walk across the Grand Valley Pedestrian Bridge for ‘Turner’s Walk’.
The 12-year-old was born with KAND or KIF-1A-associated neurological disorder, which only affects 400 people worldwide.
“It’s a 24-7 routine with Turner. He needs constant care, day-in, day-out, 365 days a year somebody has to be with [him],” Turner’s father Matt Fautsko told FOX31.
Since Turner was three years old, he’s been using a wheelchair for mobility, but as he has gotten older, his quality of life has been impacted. Matt and Jenni want their son to live the best life possible but for that to happen, it would require the purchase of a robotic walker.
The couple partnered with Bridging Bionics and started a fundraiser in an effort to get Turner a Trexo, which is the type of robotic walking device his parents were referring to.
The Trexo would allow Turner to bear his own weight while helping with circulation and his overall quality of life.
Through the generosity of friends, family, and complete strangers, over $35,000 was raised which allowed his parents to purchase him this life-changing device.
For the past month, Turner has been practicing and learning to walk for his big moment. He took his first steps in public to say thank you to the community that supports him.
“They aren’t just friends or donors, they are family,” said Matt.
A sea of supporters, some holding signs for Turner and others cheering loudly, walked with Turner during his landmark moment. Even though he is nonverbal, he communicates happiness in his own way, by shaking his head and banging his bucket on the side of his robotic walker, which he maintained throughout the entire walk.
Turner’s mother, Jenni, told FOX31 that he took 600 steps during the walk, which is the most he’s ever done. It was even more special with the community celebrating by his side after all he’s gone through.
In his young life, Turner has undergone eight surgeries, including a spinal fusion.
“Our life is different and challenging at times. It’s the life we were always going to have, we didn’t expect it and it’s beautiful and full of so much love,” Jenni said, “we love turner more than anything.”
She goes on to say that during the dark and difficult times, Luke Bryan’s music is the thing her son loves the most, always bringing a smile to his face. She’s hoping that the country music star will see her son’s story and come to his thirteenth birthday party in a few months on Oct. 3.
Regardless, they’re just grateful to the community and all the support they’ve received.