New Bedford Mom Struggling After Son’s Recent Diagnosis [HOLIDAY WISH]
Holiday Wish returns to Fun 107 for the ninth year as we team up with the United Way of Greater New Bedford to help local families in need.
The families selected are dealing with incredibly tough times, and through Holiday Wish Week, we hope to come to their aid and provide a brighter holiday to jumpstart a better year ahead.
Our first family of the week comes from New Bedford, where a mother is doing everything she can to help her son, who was recently diagnosed with an incurable condition.
The Leao Family Story
Kendra-Lee Leao is the mother of 4 children. In September of last year, her 12-year-old son Cy’rel, was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, an inherited disorder of progressive muscular weakness.
“I knew there was something wrong because he would walk and fall,” said Kendra-Lee. “He’s had this problem for a while, I just didn’t know exactly what it was.”
Doctors would tell Kendra-Lee that her son’s equilibrium was off, but it wasn’t until she got a referral to Boston Children's Hospital that she learned of her son’s condition.
Since his official diagnosis, Cy’rel’s quality of life continues to suffer as he struggles to walk.
“He can’t climb stairs, he can’t put his clothes on himself…it’s been about three years now that he’s been having trouble with walking and climbing.”
Due to his condition, Cy’rel cannot play like the other kids.
“He wants to play basketball, but he can’t run,” said Kendra-Lee. “I’m just glad that he is strong and he tells me every day that he’s not going to be in a wheelchair.”
The harsh reality is that Cy’rel will eventually be wheelchair-bound, however, physical therapy and medications can help control symptoms and improve quality of life.
With the help of her parents and the love she has for all of her children, Kendra-Lee continues to do whatever it takes to give Cy’rel a fulfilled life.
How to Help
Due to the frequent trips to Boston, Kenda-Lee can no longer work full-time. She currently works at H&M at the Dartmouth Mall, but without a full-time job, bills are stacking up.
Kendra-Lee praises her children and wants nothing more than to give them a good Christmas. She shared a few things that are on their wish lists.
Cy’rel loves technology and could use a new iPad. It unfortunately broke during one of his falling spells.
15-year-old Niyah is a girly girl who loves fashion and makeup. 2-year-old Ka’Maz loves robots and ninja turtles, and 1-year-old Kytialee loves baby dolls.
For Kendra-Lee, the only item on her wish list is for her son to be healed.
Text to Donate to Holiday Wish
Text WISHES23 to 26989. You will be sent a United Way e-link that allows you to make a donation via credit card to this family when you select the day and date of which family you wish to help from the drop-down menu.
Donate By Check to Holiday Wish
Make checks payable to the United Way of Greater New Bedford and in the memo line, write HOLIDAY WISH and the day and date of the family you wish to help. Checks can be mailed to United Way of Greater New Bedford, 128 Union St., Suite 105, New Bedford, MA, 02740.
Donate by Credit Card to Holiday Wish
You can make a secure donation to the United Way via credit card here. Select the day and date of the family you wish to help from the "Please Select a Family" drop-down menu.
All of our families are pre-selected through United Way of Greater New Bedford. If you are in need of assistance, please contact United Way directly.
Meet the Families of Holiday Wish 2022
Gallery Credit: Maddie Levine
The SouthCoast Delivers to Struggling Families for Holiday Wish Week 2021
Gallery Credit: Maddie Levine