RIVER RIDGE, La. - Dryden Jacob Corvers loves skate parks and speed.
“He is a goofball. He's always smiling. He's always laughing,” said mother Kellee Bell.
From the looks of it, you'd never know Dryden is paralyzed from the knees down.
“He can't crawl. We’re still working on that,” said Bell. “He obviously can't pull up to stand.”
Dryden was born with a crippling birth defect called spina bifida. His spinal cord didn't fuse all the way, leaving him with a hole in his back and fluid in his brain.
The doctors who diagnosed him in the womb didn't expect him to survive.
“[They] even went so far as to say that he'd be a vegetable, he'd have no quality of life, he would never walk, he would be in a wheelchair all his life, and that they recommended abortion,” said Bell.
But 15 months and six surgeries later, Dryden has beat the odds.
“As you can see, he's definitely not a vegetable,” laughed Bell, as Dryden sat on her lap.
Still, Dryden is in physical therapy nearly every day. Nerve damage means he suffers from incontinence.
But Dryden's family has bigger dreams.
“Our dream for Dryden is to have him walk,” said Bell.
And after extensive research, Bell believes the best way to improve the chances is through the Nova Cell Institute in Mexico. It specializes in non-embryonic stem cell treatments that could awaken damaged nerves.
“To have him not have to struggle would be the best thing for us,” said Bell. “He's my son. Whether it's stem cells or experimental therapy, you're going to do what you have to do to better your child's life.”
Some in the community are already rallying around Dryden to help his family's dream come true. The St. Rose Volunteer Fire Department is holding a fundraiser Friday.
“He touched my heart. Just want to do what we can do help him out,” said Lt. Nicholas Monk, public information officer for the fire department.
It's part of an ongoing effort to raise funds for an experimental treatment that's unavailable in the U.S. and for home physical therapy afterward.
For Dryden's family, it's an effort to beat the odds again.
On Friday, the St. Rose Volunteer Fire Department is offering a jambalaya lunch or dinner with a dinner roll and dessert for $7 between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. The fire station is located at 123 St. Rose Avenue in St. Rose, LA.
All proceeds will go toward Dryden's medical costs.
If you'd like to help Dryden, click here.