Toddler receives life-saving surgery for rare medical condition

ByJohn Garcia WLS logo
Friday, June 3, 2016
Toddler recieves life-saving back surgery
There's new hope for a suburban 3-year-old who needed life-saving surgery for a rare medical condition.

ADDISON, Ill. -- There's new hope for a suburban 3-year-old girl who suffers from a rare medical condition.

Kimberly Alvarez is recovering after undergoing potentially life-saving surgery. Initially the state said it would not pay its share for the operation.

But after ABC7 sister station WLS-TV aired a story in April, the state came through with the funding.

Less than a week after getting the surgery, Kimberly is back home from a hospital in Philadelphia and riding in the toy car she loves.

"She looks great and she's back to herself," her mother, Mayra Pasillas, said.

Kimberly suffers from a rare form of scoliosis that threatens to make her ribs collapse around her lungs. She needs a special brace to survive and because she is growing quickly it needs to be replaced regularly.

But for months Kimberly's medical future was in doubt because the state of Illinois failed to release the MedicAid funding needed to pay a specialist in Philadelphia to perform the surgery.

After WLS-TV's story aired, DuPage County Commissioner Pete DiCianni was able to convince state and federal officials to come together to release the funds.

"It's sad. And if she didn't have an advocate like us, I don't know if she would have even had the opportunity to have this life saving, this surgery. And this is why it's so important that we get a budget, and we get things settled in Springfield," DiCianni said.

Now Kimberly is playing like any normal 3 year old. After spending months of her childhood in the hospital, her parents are now hopeful for the future.

"We can't give up. If she doesn't give up, we don't have the option to give up," Pasillas said.

Doctors said Kimmy needs a new brace every two or three years until she stops growing. Otherwise it might literally rip out of her skin and collapse her lungs, which could be fatal.

Her parents said they are hoping the state's budget issues are resolved soon for the sake of other children like Kimberly.