Rehab Center to Help Hundreds of Children with Disabilities
By Lauren Lea
SAN ANTONIO – Hundreds of South Texas children will be helped by a planned rehabilitation facility on the northeast side, which could be completed by December 2014. TeletonUSA broke ground on the $17 million dollar facility Tuesday afternoon, with Governor Rick Perry and Mayor Julian Castro on hand.
TeletonUSA raised millions through its first telethon in America, which aired on Univision last year. The Centro de Rehabilitacion Infantil Teleton, Texas, or CRIT will help 700 children with physical disabilities and create 100 new jobs.
“For long term rehabilitation, there are not sufficient services. We think this is a new possibility for a lot of children,” explained Federica Soriano, general manager of TeletonUSA.
The facility will be modeled after existing CRIT centers in Mexico. Teleton telethons have raised millions of dollars in Mexico to fund CRIT centers, and Soriano said the 21 centers there filled up the day they opened.
Tuesday was a big day 14-year-old Denilson Alvarado, but he had no idea just how big it was. He’s named after a Brazilian soccer player and is a soccer super fan.
“I want to be my normal self and I want to be a huge soccer star that everyone knows,” he said.
Alvarado has cerebral palsy and is working hard in therapy in Fort Worth, but could use more intensive treatment. He was there at the groundbreaking for the CRIT Tuesday, because the center will help kids just like him.
“If this CRIT is finished in a few years, I might move here with my mom and dad,” he said.
Turns out, Alvarado will be the first patient at the CRIT and was surprised with his very own identification badge on stage.
“Wow!” he exclaimed. “I felt great! I felt really excited!”
His mother said she was excited for him and all the children who would benefit from the center.
The CRIT will help all children, regardless of their ability to pay. It will be located at Thousand Oaks and Wurzbach Parkway and will have a special partnership with neighboring Morgan’s Wonderland. San Antonio was chosed as the first American CRIT location because of the large Hispanic population and the city’s central location between the East and West Coasts, Soriano said.
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