Connecticut Families: Follow-up on Izaiah: Strength and spirit helped a Hartford boy on his road to recovery

Connecticut Families

The day before we aired our original story on Izaiah, he became gravely ill, prompting an outpouring of concern for this inspiring boy who faces huge challenges. The journey back to health has been long but Izaiah Lorenzo’s incredible spirit never wavered.

Related: Community rallies around inspiring Hartford boy in need of a wheelchair accessible van

“He came home from school, he said he had a stomach ache,” says his mom, Christina Burgos, remembering back to that winter evening. “By the time we got to the ER, which is 5 minutes from my home, he was unresponsive in the car.”

“I got sick – constipation and double pneumonia and I almost died,” adds the 13 year old boy with emotion.

Sunny days and fresh air feel all the better to the boy after 55 days in the hospital. A tear in his intestine and fluid in his lungs led to emergency surgery. He didn’t talk for seven days. “The Super Bowl was around that time and we put it on TV for him for him to hear it because he was in a coma and he was reacting to the Super Bowl even in his sleep,” says Burgos of her son, a huge football fan.

Doctors said he might not make it.

“I said, ‘You don’t know my son. This kid has overcome so many things that me and you can’t even fathom,'” says Burgos. Izaiah was born at 23 weeks weighing just over one pound. Then, as a toddler, he was diagnosed with quadriplegic spastic cerebral palsy. Our Connecticut Families segment in January elicited a huge response. “That story touched people’s hearts,” says Burgos, noting that strangers reached out to her to say how much they cared.

A subsequent fundraiser – at Balos restaurant – raised $5,000 towards the family’s goal of buying a wheelchair accessible van to broaden Izaiah’s horizons. “It felt like everybody supported me,” says Izaiah whose health is improving. He can’t wait for football season.

Izaiah dreams of someday becoming a coach. He believes he’d show his players what strength really is. “Cause I think I’d bring inspiration and courage,” he says.

“Not one person that meets Zay doesn’t remember him,” says Burgos. “Even if they don’t remember his name, they remember his smile and that’s his gift.”

The family is still saving money for that van. Click here to check out a GoFundMe page. Meanwhile, Izaiah will resume his role with the Manchester Sentinels Youth Football program in the fall. He serves as a very enthusiastic assistant coach.

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