Community pulls together to help Cerebral Palsy pupil
Story and photos
By Terry Miller
A third-grader was amazed with a gift of a mobile standing wheelchair made by Rifton in front of his classmates and friends at Mayflower Elementary School on Tuesday – thanks to the community and especially the Police officers of Monrovia through the Monrovia Police Officers Association. 8-year-old Jose Elias Pla Deanda waved to his fellow students as he pulled up in his conventional wheelchair to the deafening cheers and applause as his classmates yelled “Jose, Jose, Jose!”
Mayor Tom Adams, council members as well as school Board officials witnessed the excitement Tuesday afternoon as well as the entire school and the police and fire departments.
Members of the MPOA raised money for the Rifton Dynamic Stander chair with the help of members of the Monrovia PD, Fire, staff and officials from the city, the Kiwanis and other community members.
The chair, manufactured by Rifton, allows him to be in a forward standing position and propel himself. His mother’s insurance would not cover the expense of about $6,000 … enter Monrovia community spirit.
A GoFundMe account also helped get Jose the new chair.
According to Monrovia Police Lt. Rob Wilkins Rifton also offered the MPOA a big discount and their staff also contributed to help pay for the chair for Jose.
As staff and friends helped him into his Dodger Blue (his favorite team) Rifton chair, Jose was all smiles and his best friend Joshua Kitterman (also a huge Dodger fan) kept hugging Jose excitedly.
“It was phenomenal to see how the community got together for one of our students … ” Principal Dr. Tamar Kataroyan told Monrovia Weekly.
“Its not the first time the Monrovia community has helped our school. Its remarkable to see such a wonderful collective collaborate on a project The School resource officer who led the fund raising drive was MPD Officer James Ruano who brought the initial suggestion for the chair to Monrovia Police Officers Association … from there it took off … ” Principal Kataroyan said.
Jose said he hopes to be a police officer one day.