Ten years ago today the lives of a Fulton county family were changed forever. Nathaniel Albring nearly drowned in the family pool. His parents were told he might not make it through the night. But he did make it. Now his parents are hoping the same treatment that helped hockey legend Gordie Howe can help their son.
Nathaniel was just approved for stem cell treatment but the family will have to travel nearly five thousand miles to get that treatment. That's because the FDA still considers it an experimental treatment. They're heading to Moscow next month but they need help getting there.
The treatment alone will cost tens of thousands of dollars and none of the cost is covered by insurance. Jeff Albring is Nathaniel's dad,"There's no guarantee as to what it will do but we are hoping to get some part of our son back that we lost."
Two year old Nathaniel was pulled from the family pool that June day in 2005 not breathing. His mother Jill found him,"It's been quite a journey. we try not to look too far ahead."
Nathaniel suffered a traumatic brain injury. He can't speak or voluntarily move his arms or legs. Jill says with the help of three other sons as well as caregivers and therapists they work to do what is best for Nathaniel every day, "Hopefully the stem cells will help him rejuvenate his brain tissue so he can lead a more productive life. The treatment is all we have left to do to help him."
Jeff says they will travel to Moscow next month and he will undergo a two day treatment with a Russian neurologist, "The first night he will have stem cells injected in his spinal fluid and then he will stay overnight for observation. The next day he will have IV fusion meaning the rest of the stem cells will be in an IV drip."
The treatment will cost about $40,000, the travel expenses including flights, hotel, and passports another $10,000, "It's overwhelming because that is a lot of money to raise to get this accomplished. Our emotions are very different. Jeff is excited. His bags are packed. I am overwhelmed with all the other stuff like the money and traveling so far with a special needs child."
Even with those worries, the Albrings say they know they are doing the right thing for their son, "As parents you have to fight for your kids. You can't give up even when others have given up. We've decided to go for it and hope for the best."
There are several ways you can help the Albring family. There will be a spaghetti diner at Little Flower Catholic Church on Dorr Street in Toledo, Sunday June 28th. It runs from 3-8 pm. There will be auctions and raffles as well as dinner.
The family has also set up Go Fund Me and You Caring sites for donations.