CLEARWATER, Fla. - Several years ago, Sean Findley was diagnosed with Alexander disease, a rare disorder of the nervous system. Doctors told his grandmother he wouldn’t make it to 7 years old.
Today, he’s 12 years old. But the disease started causing Sean to suffer from seizures that ultimately confined him to his house.
Over time, Sean built a special bond with Jerome Mourelatos, one of the Clearwater Fire Rescue medics that answered the EMS calls to the house.
“There’s something about Sean that just got to me. One of my kids -- my oldest son -- is also disabled as well, so there was something about him that I just wanted to be able to help him,” offered Mourelatos. “Just knowing how well Sean has done, how well his grandmother has taken care of him, how he’s outgrown his life expectancy, he’s just a happy kid.”
Sean has been stuck in his bed for three years because he doesn’t have a way to get out of the house. Now that Sean weighs 92 pounds, his grandmother Marci cannot pick him up and carry him down the steps to their car.
“We used to get two or three people to carry him safely down the stairs to keep it safe so that he wouldn’t get hurt or that they wouldn’t get hurt,” Marci Findley explained.
Mourelatos noticed how bad the situation was getting at the Findley household and decided to do something to help. He rounded up some other Clearwater firefighters to help build a ramp. He also got Lowes to donate the lumber, and found an architect to donate his time as well.
Over the past three days, the firefighters have donated their time to build the ramp for Sean. Thursday was the big day -- Sean was able to go outside with his grandmother and enjoy some fresh air for the first time in years.
“I’m overwhelmed, I can’t even believe it. I’m afraid I’m going to cry,” exclaimed Marci. “There just isn’t even words to express, I mean, how can you ever? Here’s this child, he had no life. And they’re making it possible for him to get out into the sunshine.”
When the moment came, Sean was elated. “My ramp! I’m so excited!”
That reaction made Mourelatos' day.
“If I could just do something for him, I mean, it means the world to me.”