Teen with muscular dystrophy needs wheelchair repairs


Cesar Malagon

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DENVER -- The FOX31 Denver Problem Solvers were contacted by a para professional at Northglenn High School on Monday in hopes of helping a student.

Senior Cesar Malagon, 17, is a typical teenager.

“For fun at home, I play a lot of video games,” he said.

He is enjoying every bit of classroom time before graduation.

“Right now, I really like math,” he said.

He’ll be donning the cap and gown on May 17, but there’s one problem the Problem Solvers are hoping to fix.

“Most seniors are asking for a graduation party,” para professional Jamie Sanchez said. “Cesar is asking to help fix his wheelchair.”

Cesar was diagnosed with an aggressive form of muscular dystrophy when he was 7 years old.

“It has progressed to where he can’t move his arms of legs,” said Lori Swanson, who works with Cesar as a para professional at the school.

Cesar has relied on his nonprofit donated wheelchair for three years.

“It's basically my arms and legs,” he said.

But now, the wheelchair is in need of adjustments and repairs.

Cesar said the worn-out tires make it difficult to cross rain and snow-covered paths. He pointed to a broken command button. He described the unstable headrest and lack of spinal support.

“Sometimes it hurts my back,” he said.

He can’t reach and pull the on and off switch, so he can get around without help. And he was really hoping to cross the graduation stage by himself.

“It would be like a wish come true to be able to walk with my class,” he said.

Cesar also said the battery doesn’t hold a charge like it used to, causing concern when it suddenly shut down on the journey home from school one sunny day. He was a block from home but was stranded.

“Luckily, there was a student from an elementary school that came over and helped me,” he said.

Cesar typically wouldn’t ask for help.

“He works really hard and he rarely complains, even though things that are easy for the rest of us are really a challenge for him,” Swanson said.

But Cesar is thrilled to know people care.

“It makes me feel like I'm important to somebody,” he said.

“He just melts your heart,” Sanchez said. “He’s very loving, caring, easy-going.

To help Cesar, email the FOX31 Problem Solvers at problemsolvers@kdvr.com or check out his GoFundMe page.

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