Reporting Gordy Leach
ROBBINSDALE, Minn. (WCCO) – A 4-year-old Robbinsdale boy has a disease that keeps him from a lot of things other boys his age can do.
But Antonio Eric Lewis’ parents learned recently that he would rather sit in a hot tub than his wheelchair.
The Minnesota Make-A-Wish Foundation had the answer on Tuesday. Volunteers spent the day building a gazebo with a hot tub next to the family’s house. The hot tub will help ease Lewis’ Spinal Muscular Atrophy.
“He can’t do anything really for himself, except for feed himself a little bit, but I don’t know, he’s doing great, I mean with all things considered,” said Julie Anderson, Antonio’s mother.
“He’s really smart and figuring things out, he just can’t say a whole lot right now, but we’re working on that right now,” said Antonio Lewis, Antonio’s father.
His father said the hot tub would be the best for Antonio because of his condition. His hands, neck and feet cramp up, so the pool should be the best thing for the boy.
“It’s one of the best therapies for children with SME, it’s the only place that they can truly move, because they don’t have the weight of their body going against the muscles,” Antonio Lewis said.
A group of people from Blue Cross and the Home Depot came together to make the gazebo and hot tub installation happen. Volunteer Joray DuPont said it was a beautiful day and a wonderful opportunity to be out.
“It’s kind of overwhelming, you know, you plan an eight-hour day and you’re kind of wrapping up and drinking water around 2:30 or so, but it just feels good to get everything pulled together,” DuPont said.
Tom McKinney with the Make-A-Wish Foundation said this isn’t the first hot tub wish, but it is the most special. They got the structure up outside, and because of the boy’s needs, it suits him better with an enclosure.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation chapter in Minnesota has made more than 3,000 dreams come true for children with handicaps or disabilities since 1982.