Kiley has cerebral palsy and can’t walk independently. Two years ago, she couldn’t even hold her head up on her own or crawl.
After winning the sweepstakes in an online contest, Jason and wife Lori enrolled Kiley in an intensive therapy in October 2011 to help her reach the goal of walking independently.
Kiley is now 5 years old, and she’s taking steps toward that goal. The intensive therapy, called TheraSuit, is one of the things that have helped her strengthen herself.
She’s holding her head up better. She can scoot on the floor. She can maintain a sitting position for longer, although she needs help rising into it. She can stay standing with just a parent’s hand on her shoulders for support. She can even reel in a fishing line.
But that’s not all: Earlier this month at her 5th birthday party, Jason was supporting Kiley as she stood. Then he let her go. She stood on her own for 5-7 seconds.
Then: “She took a step forward,” Jason said.
“I was just shocked,” he added.
She fell after she realized she wasn’t being supported, but she always gets back up.
Kiley is now in her fifth regimen of TheraSuit therapy at Lampert’s Therapy Group in Largo.
The Griggs want to continue the therapy, and a new firefighter-themed fundraiser at Eddie’s Bar and Grill Nov. 6 in Dunedin could give them help paying for it. For a $35 ticket, diners will get a five-course meal, and a portion of the proceeds will go to the Griggs family.
“Without the community support and our friends, Kiley would not be where she’s at today,” said Jason, who works as firefighter in Dunedin. Lori Griggs is a teacher at Rushe Middle School in Land O' Lakes.
The Griggs dream of Kiley being able to walk independently. It’s been a long path to get there. In 2011, they decided TheraSuit therapy could help Kiley The problem was that it is expensive and their insurance didn’t cover it.
TheraSuit helps increase muscle strength, flexibility, coordination and range of motion. The outfit worn during therapy is equipped with elastic cords meant to provide support and mimic muscle movement. A component has the patient lying down in a “Universal Exercise Unit,” a cage-like structure, and exercising using a system of pulleys, straps and splints attached to the structure.
The exercise unit is also used for a “Spider Cage” therapy, in which patients are snapped into a web of bungee cords and do exercises.
The Griggs entered their wish for money to fund TheraSuit into the UPromise online sweepstakes in 2011, and the public voted for the Griggs to win the $10,000 grand prize. The family used that to start funding the therapy, which they said their insurance didn’t cover. The grand prize winner was determined by votes from the public.
They also won money from several other online contests. In addition, they’ve enrolled Kiley at Kiddy Up Ranch in New Port Richey, which provides equine therapy for kids with disabilities. That’s been a big boon to Kiley, too.
Kiley is motivated and shows it. She wants to walk and when asked why, said,” Because I want to go see things myself.”
Kiley was practicing walking on a treadmill in TheraSuit therapy Oct. 9 with her hands grasping a pair of safety bars and Arlington supporting her from behind. Her therapist Gina Arlington kept urging Kiley, who was moving slower than usual, to take steps forward on the treadmill.
“You’ll get there, right? “ Arlington asked. “You’re a big girl.”
Want to Support Kiley’s Efforts to Grow Strong? Purchase tickets for Kiley's Nov. 6 fundraiser. Proceeds go to the Griggs family.
If You Go:What: Fundraiser dinner for Kiley Griggs
Where: Eddie's Bar and Grill, 1283 Bayshore Blvd., Dunedin.
When: 6 p.m. Nov. 6.
Cost: $35 per person gets you a five-course meal and five beers. $25 gets you five courses without the beer. Tickets can be purchased at Eddie's, by calling the restaurant at (727) 734-2300 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org