Shriners Hospital gives Walters boy hope to walk again

Shriners Hospital gives Walters boy hope to walk again

WALTERS, OK (TNN) - A 10-year-old Walters boy is going to Shriners Hospital for Children in Chicago this summer to see if doctors think he’ll be able to walk again. Austin Benefiel hasn’t been able to walk since he was injured in a car crash that killed his mom days before Christmas in 2017.

His family is hoping for good news after doctors in Dallas told them there’s a 99% chance that he won’t be able to walk again, but his family said that’s not 100%. Austin’s is now able to move his legs some. Austin wants to walk again and said he’d cry if it happened.

"Cause that would be my first time ever walking on my own feet again...playing basketball, playing baseball," Austin said.

He is not giving up on his hope to stand, walk, and run. His grandpa, Terry Fento said Austin is working hard in physical therapy.

"He goes to the pool every week, goes to Oklahoma City every week, gets on the lomax. So, it will be good," Fento said.

When he came home from the hospital, one year ago this month, his school welcomed him home with open arms.

"When he got hurt, they bent over backward and I don't think I could ever live anywhere else besides here because it's like we're all family," he said.

Fento said the accident has changed how Austin lives. He can't do some of the things he used to do, like play sports.

"He's still a happy fella, but he has his moments, and I think the chair does that," Fento said.

After hearing Austin talk about wanting to walk again, Fento made it his mission to see if it’s possible which is why he set up this appointment. The hospital is paying for Austin and his grandpa’s plane tickets there and the appointment. Shriners Hospital for Children in Chicago’s website said the doctors there provide expertise in rehabilitation/spinal cord injury.

"If he can't, we'll live with it, but if they can, we want to do whatever we can to get him to walk," he said.

Fento said by the end of the appointment, doctors should let them know whether or not they think he'll be able to get around on his two feet again.

"Shriner up there said he's seen more miracles come out of that hospital than anything. So, that's what we're hoping for, a miracle," he said.

They find out what doctors have to say this June. While the hospital is paying for the flight there, his family has to pay for meals, a hotel, and taxi rides. If you’d like to help, a GoFundMe has been set up to offset some of the cost.

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