An unlikely pairing of celebrities has helped a young man with cerebral palsy move one step closer to his hope for a “miracle treatment,” the Kansas City Star reports.
From Kansas To Boston, In Hopes Of A Cure
Tristan Wiesing, a 19-year-old man diagnosed with a cerebral palsy disorder at home, needed to get from his home in Kansas to Boston.
Weising, who cannot walk or speak, has been struggling with gastrointestinal issues that have prevented him from receiving treatment for his neuromuscular condition. Tristan needs tendon surgery, which could loosen his tight limbs and increase his range of motion, but his gastrointestinal disorder needs to be addressed first.
The solution, Wiesing and his family hope, lies in Massachusetts, at Boston Children’s Hospital, where Dr. Samuel Nurko works as Director of the Center for Motility and Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. Dr. Nurko, the nation’s foremost pediatric gastroenterologist, specializes in treating rare – and often debilitating – gastrointestinal conditions in children.
A “Miracle” Doctor 1,400 Miles Away
Every year, young patients from across the country travel to Boston in hopes of receiving Nurko’s treatment. Many patients make the trip without having set up an appointment – inspired by the film “Miracles From Heaven,” a fictionalized portrayal of Dr. Nurko’s efforts to help one young girl in her desperate search for a cure.
In Kansas, doctors were unable to help – or even diagnose – Tristan Wiesing, but the young man made some important friends during his search for treatment at Children’s Mercy Kansas City.
“Modern Family” Actor Steps In To Help
In 2016, the hospital was visited by actors Eric Stonestreet, of TV’s “Modern Family,” and Adam Scott, who played leads in “Parks and Recreation” and the movie “Step Brothers.” Both stars were in town for the Big Slick Celebrity Weekend, an annual poker tournament held to raise money for the children’s hospital, and happened to visit Tristan’s room.
Stonestreet formed an instant bond with the young patient, Wiesing’s father told reporters. “Tristan knows no strangers,” he said, “but it was just amazing to see the smile on his face when Eric was in there.” A few months later, Stonestreet bought Tristan a subscription to Pandora, a music streaming service, complete with a personal video message:
“Chandelier,” the hit by pop star Sia, is one of Tristan’s favorites. Stonestreet even contacted the singer, who delivers her best wishes to Wiesing in the video. Over the next few months, Stonestreet kept up his correspondence with Tristan Wiesing, sending the young man birthday presents and more messages, but his real help would only come later, when the doctors at Children’s Mercy proved unable to explain the young man’s intestinal problem.
Weising received several second opinions, but was ultimately turned down by other Kansas hospitals. That’s when Tristan’s father set his sights on Dr. Nurko, in Boston, after watching “Miracles from Heaven.” It was a long shot, not only because getting an appointment with the famous doctor can be extremely difficult. Traveling to Massachusetts meant taking an airplane, an expensive proposition made even harder by the array of medical equipment that Tristan would need to bring along.
Private Jet Brings Young Patient To Boston
Eric Stonestreet came to the rescue. As Tristan’s father later revealed, Stonestreet quietly reached out to Dr. Nurko’s office and secured an appointment. Paying for the trip, though, was another matter. Tristan’s father set up a GoFundMe page, which received an anonymous $5,000 donation three days later. Weising’s father believes Eric Stonestreet was his son’s unidentified benefactor, but $5,000, while a welcome contribution, just wasn’t enough.
Taking a private plane, on the other hand, would do the trick. In late-March 2017, Stonestreet found himself in Florida with Jimmy John Liautaud, the founder of franchise sandwich chain Jimmy John’s. No sooner had Stonestreet mentioned Tristan’s dilemma to his friend than the sandwich mogul offered the use of his private jet. On April 3, Tristan and his family were picked up in Kansas by a six-seat Leer jet. The young man had his first appointment with Dr. Samuel Nurko the same day. The jet, along with its crew, are waiting in Boston on stand-by, ready to help whenever the family needs it.