Glenwood Springs, Colo. — When a small community rallies around a cause, there’s no telling what can be achieved. That includes helping a young boy named Turner walk for the first time.
“Things are truly possible if you reach out to the right people,” said Turner’s dad, Matt Fautsko.
Turner Fautsko is 12 years old. He was born with a rare genetic condition called KIF1A Associated Neurological Disorder (KAND). He is nonverbal and requires the use of a wheelchair. That is, until his Glenwood Springs community got involved.
“We did a big fundraiser for Turner,” said Turner's mother, Jenni Fautsko.
The small city of just 10,000 people raised more than $35,000 to buy a TREXO robot, which is a machine that helps Turner walk. It consists of five computers — one on each of his hips, each knee, and a central system.
On a recent evening, the Fautsko family gathered with friends and community members for an event to say thank you, and to show off what those heartfelt donations helped accomplish.
“Here we go!” Jenni said as Turner took his first few steps in public.
The crowd cheered and held up signs at the 12-year-old led a mini parade across a pedestrian bridge in Glenwood Springs.
“We see him happy when he’s walking, so obviously he’s enjoying what he’s doing,” Jenni said.
Turner’s parents said the robotic contraction has changed their son’s life.
“We’ve already seen so many benefits with his personality and it’ll help health-wise too,” Jenni said.
They also know that it’s the people that turned out for Turner’s walk event and donated to their GoFundMe that made those steps possible.
“We are beyond grateful," Matt said. "Unbelievable thanks to everyone who was involved in this."
Turner can’t audibly say what the robot, walking, or the community’s efforts mean to him, but he can express his feelings through a huge smile as he finished his 600-step journey.
“Another open door for Turner is what we're seeing,” Jenni said.