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By Kyle Michael Miller

The love 17-year-old Zach Upshaw has for his brother Austin will melt your heart and show you how a strong family bond is important when battling life’s tough situations.

“He has never been ashamed of Austin, but instead has embraced him for all his beauty,” the brothers’ mom Christine Upshaw wrote to Kathie Lee and Hoda.

One Christmas, Zach’s only request was to see his brother healed. As the boys grew up, they were inseparable. On family vacations, Zach helped carry Austin’s wheelchair over rocky surfaces.

“Zach will tell you his ultimate goal is when he gets to heaven to be able to see his brother run, and to hear him speak,” Christine said.

Austin describes his brother as patient, kind and amazing.

“I love him so much,” Zach told Kathie Lee and Hoda. “My favorite part about him is his personality. He loves to mess (with us) and tease us as much as he can.”

Zach volunteers with special needs kids and plans to one day become a pediatric neurologist to help other children like his brother.

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By Christian Collins

A community came together at Ward Elementary Friday morning to surprise 8-year-old Ella Frerich. Frerich lives with Cerebral Palsy; Her surprise: a new bike that meets her needs.

The disorder can sometimes affect brain and nervous system functions such as movement. To help out, she was given an adaptive bike to help her with muscle development and balance.

“It was good to see her have a bike,” said Kayla Luna, mother of Ella. “That she could ride and not have to worry about falling over.”

“It was just overwhelming,” said Luna. “She didn’t even know she was going to get it.”

After being presented with her gift, she rode her way down the hallways of Ward Elementary and even outside. However, it could not have been possible without the help of Ward Elementary’s school nurse Cathy Reinmund.

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By Namoi Valley Independent

Eight months is a long time in the life of a four-year-old, but for little Addy Laws, it is only the start of a new journey giving hope to a brighter future.

In March, Addy Laws and her mum, Alicia Streater, took the first step on that journey in Melbourne where the young cerebral palsy sufferer underwent ground-breaking TheraSuit treatment, a program developed in the US specifically to help youngsters with Addy’s condition.

The TheraSuit stimulates muscle responses in the legs. Its calico frame is covered with long bungey-like cords which require the wearer to perform a series of intense exercises while sitting and standing with an emphasis on “power plays” through a vibration machine.

Alicia said the program’s director Chad Timmermans said Addy was a “hard case” when she baulked at some of the weighted exercise regimes.

Despite this, Alicia and her family can already see huge improvement in Addy’s movement, strength  and reactions.

“We flew to Melbourne in early April and with two other families, Addy worked with Chad Timmermans for three hours a day, five days a week over three weeks,” Alicia said.

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