MARIO'S STORY

VIDEO 1: Mario – evident hemiparetic pattern; before the beginning of intensive rehabilitation according to Stojcevic Polovina

VIDEO 2: Mario at the age of 12, he was enrolled in intensive rehabilitation between 1,5 and 5 years

Our son Mario was born on 1 November 1997 in Graz, Austria.  His birth was long and hard because Mario was turned facing the wrong way. 

After his birth, no one noticed anything unusual about our baby.  Mario was a lively and restless baby; he cried when his nappies were changed; he didn't sleep much. 

At 8 months he did not yet eat independently, nor did he wish to hold his bottle by himself. 

His paediatrician considered all of this to be normal and said that Mario was a spoilt male child who didn't have any need to do anything by himself, because he got everything he wanted anyhow. 

At 17 months Mario could walk independently.  However, while walking he dragged his right leg and held is right arm fairly stiffly. 

Our child's doctor considered this, too, to be normal and gave the following diagnosis: "right leg 1 cm shorter". 

We wanted to help our child to walk more easily so we went to an orthopaedic specialist to get orthopaedic inserts for our child. (This was our idea).

We were shocked by what we learnt there.  The doctor immediately suspected a diagnosis of "hemiparesis" and referred us to another specialist.

This was something that we could never imagine; our child, who we had believed for 18 months to be healthy but spoilt, was all of a sudden ill. And with "hemiparesis" of all things. 

We knew what this meant; this was something that was going to last his whole life. 

But we were lucky and we found Prof. Stojčević- Polovina.

Professor Stojčević-Polovina was appalled by the fact that we were coming to her for the first time with an 18-month old child.  She asked us where we had been and why we hadn't asked for help earlier. She told us that Mario's chances were minimal and that we had come very late. 

We were given the following two choices: Mario could continue to walk in the way he had been walking with minimal correction and to exercise so that his condition would not worsen or have Mario stop walking at all and bring him back to the level of a three month old baby and exercise with him at least six hours a day.  (This was the harder option but it promised better results).  In three days we were supposed to come back for a check-up and make our decision. 

It was very difficult for us but we knew right away that we would try to do everything we could so that Mario could run and play like his older brother and other children. 

We started to exercise with Mario when he was 18 months old.  For the next three years Mario's life consisted of exercising, eating, sleeping and exercising again.  We skipped birthday celebrations, parties, and visits to friends' because this would have meant a break in our exercising and every day was important for Mario. 

Mario made good progress. In order to get him to exercise, we told him stories, his father played with toys, his older brother said or did silly things. We did everything just to make Mario exercise; he was already a big child and no longer a little baby.

When he didn't want to exercise, his brother exercised with him because he let his brother to do anything he wanted. 

On the 17 January 2001 Mario was given permission to start walking by his "Auntie Doctor".  He was then three years old and three months. 

Up until then we had carried him or he had ridden in a stroller. 

His first steps were marvellous.  He walked normally, perhaps a little insecurely and apprehensively, but normally! 

We were thrilled; all of our hard work had paid off - even my leaving work in order to exercise with Mario and the lack of attention our older son endured.  

Today Mario is a big boy and he is in the second grade.  He is a good student, he speaks two languages fluently and plays the piano but most of all he enjoys exercising with hoops, skipping rope, climbing trees, swimming, diving and -  RUNNING. 

We are thankful to our "Auntie Doctor" for everything that our Mario can do, for treating him even though she knew that his chances were minimal, for encouraging us when we were unable to master a particular exercise and for believing that we could succeed.  We wish to thank her again in this way because Mario is now a healthy child. Thank you!