For most people walking 2˝ miles is
nothing very special, depending on how physically fit they are,
but for one 12-year old Duboistown youngster it will be a very
demanding and perhaps painful task.
Andrew Kriebel was born with a
condition that has produced five different types of debilitating
seizures. These seizures have produced in him in a condition
that makes him function at just a one-year old’s level of
development and has also impaired his physical movement.
In 2009, Andrew began having
problems with bending over and walking. It progressively got
worse until he was totally dependent on people to move him. He
had lost his ability to walk. This went on for 16
months. Andrew went through an
array of tests at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to
include, bone scans, several MRIs with and without dye & EEG's
Andrew showed many characteristics
of condition called "Angelman’s Syndrome. Those characteristics
included severe seizure disorder, sleep disorder, excessive
mouthing, non-verbal, easily excited, frequent laughter, wide
unsteady gait, severe developmental delay, not potty trainable
and not heat tolerant.
"It was suggested to us by a doctor
from the Philadelphia Children’s Hospital that we try a drug
that was available in Canada," Dean Kriebel, father of Andrew,
told Webb Weekly. "Approximately three weeks after taking the
drug, Andrew started taking steps. We couldn’t believe it. His
nurse and physical therapist started pushing him to get his
His nurse,from Bayada Nurses, Kevin
Schreckengast, walks him every day. He is now walking up to two
miles per day with assistance. His nurse holds his hand in case
of a seizure. His walking does not look pretty as he is pigeon
toed but he is doing it."
Dean said on Friday May 31, during
the last week of school Andrew will complete a 2˝ mile walk from
his home to school All of the children in his elementary school
will be lining the streets to cheer him on as they have known
him since his was 6 years old. He will be leaving them to go to
the South Williamsport High School next year.
They all know how hard he has
worked because they see him walking the playground and hallways
every day. This will be a major event with 1,200 children,
school staff, family and community attending.
"This walk is a way that Andrew can
accomplish something on his own, with a little help from his
nurse, Kevin. Andrew loves to walk," Dean said "In addition to
just walking, we hope that Andrew’s walk will bring about an
increased awareness of the challenges of children with special
needs. This is also a celebration of what Andrew has battled
back to accomplish. This is his one chance to shine because he
won’t have any high school graduation, no prom to go to, he’ll
never be able to drive a car or ride a bike, or have no
outstanding sports feat to celebrate."
Dean and his wife Amy held three
assemblies at Central Elementary and Rommelt Middle School two
weeks ago to teach the students about Andrew and what special
needs are. They showed them an inspirational video about Matt
Woodrum (Google Matt Woodrum ESPN) a young boy who suffers from
Cerebral Palsy. All children received a rubber wristband with
askandrew.org on it so they could log on to the the website they
have started (www.askandrew.org)
and discuss special needs children with parents and siblings.
The day of the event all students
and faculty will receive a South Side Blue and White T shirt to
wear in support of Andrew. On the front is a motivational
saying, "The will to succeed can overcome the greatest
adversity." This is very true in Andrew's case. He refuses to
quit and has overcome every adversity thrown at him during his
The Leroy O. Buck Duboistown VFW
Post purchased 900 T-shirts for the event.
Andrew’s 2˝ mile walk begins at the
Kriebel home in Duboistown at about 8:30 a.m Dean said about
90 percent of the walk will take place on West Mountain Avenue.
He said that Andrew may be physically tested at some points,
because he will have to negotiate some steep hills but
everybody, including his nurse, believe that he is up to the
Andrew will end his walk at the
Central Elementary School at about 10 a.m.
Come out, show your support and
cheer Andrew on as he makes his walk to school. Dean is hopeful
that many people will line the route to root Andrew on his walk
of courage, hope and determination.
There will be a celebration party
at the Duboistown VFW that evening at 5p.m., which is open to
the public. There will be food and entertainment by Lou Mauro.
The Country Store in Pennsdale is donating a large pig for a pig
roast as part of the celebration.
"We can’t say enough about all the
generosity that others have shown for Andrew and this event,"
Dean said. "In addition to the Country Store, we would like to
thank the South Williamsport PTO for buying the wristbands and
for the donuts they bought for the essay winners and of course,
the Duboistown VFW in buying the T-shirts and hosting the
celebration there at 5 p.m."
Perhaps what best sums up what the
Kriebels have gone through and how they feel about Andrew is
contained in this quote by them.
"Andrew's life is like a hand of
poker. Sometimes your dealt pocket aces and sometimes your dealt
a seven and a two. It would be easy to fold the seven and the
two. Andrew has decided not to fold but play the seven and two
like it is pocket aces. He will win this hand and hopefully the
whole poker tournament of life."
For more information about Andrew’s
walk you can access the website of Andrew’s Special Kids