COLORADO SPRINGS – Thane and Selah Helus are just like any of their classmates.
They do their homework, play sports and stay active.
“I do soccer. Today’s going to be probably my last basketball practice. I’ve done flag football,” Thane said.
“Pirouettes, it’s moving the bottom part of your leg, but the top part spins a little bit with it,” Selah said.
The two kids, 8 and 12 respectively, have done all that, despite living with a rare genetic disorder called Nail-Patella Syndrome. The syndrome resulted in their knee caps being shifted to the side, often leading to dislocation.
“It’s painful, and so just the opportunity to know that they can correct that, and we have specialized surgeons that can do this, it’s incredible,” said Eric Helus, their father, who also has Nail-Patella Syndrome.
News 5 sat down with the family Thursday, just hours before their trip to Sacramento, where the kids had surgeries Friday. Thane endured four surgeries over four hours, while Selah’s procedure took two hours. It was performed by a doctor with experience in treating the disorder.
The procedure itself is specialized and expensive, on top of having to travel there.
That’s when nonprofit Miracle Flights stepped in.
“Without Miracle Flights, we wouldn’t have been able to afford to fly us all there and for them to get care from somebody that’s dealt with such a rare disorder that they have, so it’s been a huge blessing for us,” said Sarah Helus, the kids’ mother.
Miracle Flights, with help from UFC, is footing the bill for all of the family’s flights. The nonprofit has donated more than 120,000 flights since the 1980s, so that people like the Helus family can focus on treatment.
“To not have to worry about all the other stuff that we’ve had to potentially worry about in a surgery like this, with finances and travel arrangements and things, it gave us more energy to focus on this stuff, because it’s exhausting,” Eric said.