Cerebral Palsy

St. Louis Children’s Hospital

Lebo's Story

Lebo was born in Soweto, South Africa. Lebo lived in a care home where the staff loved him dearly. However, limited resources resulted in Lebo not having access to the therapies and doctors he needed. Lebo crawled everywhere not walking or using his legs much at all.

When Lebo was seven-years-old, Lebo’s soon-to-be family, (mom, dad, and brother) sat in front of a judge and declared their desire to be his family. The judge agreed, and their adoption was granted. The Hanks family flew home and immediately consulted the doctors at St. Louis Children’s Hospital to understand how they could best serve Lebo.  Lebo saw several specialists and was eventually referred to Dr. Park for a surgery called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR). The first year of Lebo being home, he had four surgeries. The Hanks were confident that Lebo had access to the world’s best Cerebral Palsy doctors and surgeons. The SDR surgery took away the spasticity in Lebo’s legs, giving Lebo the ability to learn to move his legs.

Lebo has visited the Therapy Department at St. Louis Children’s Hospital over 350 times since September of 2018.

Lebo currently walks with his walker and sticks. Lebo is using his feet and legs for the first time.

Lebo’s family hopes for continued independence for Lebo. Their dream for Lebo is to be able to walk in the front doors of his care home on their next trip to South Africa.

As of this moment, Lebo is a strong independent boy. He loves House Hunters, Jeeps, and cooking shows. Lebo is in 3rd grade and loves school. Every day Lebo gets stronger and everyday he spends more time out of his wheelchair and up on his feet.

Lebo has been fortunate to have access to the world’s best therapist and doctors at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Lebo made it here to St. Louis all the way from Soweto, South Africa, because of St. Louis Children’s Hospital and people like all of you he will be is using his legs and walking.

How CMN Funds Help Lebo & Kids Like Him:

Lebo participates an adaptive triathlon (swim/bike/run) for children and young adults with physical limitations. Encouraging physical fitness, the event focuses on those who would not typically be able to participate in a traditional triathlon. Lebo participates in the triathlon each year.

Lebo’s brother has utilized the sibling play room during the family’s visits to St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

February 2023 Update:

Lebo’s mom reports that, “Lebo is doing amazing.  He has started middle school and is navigating the building using his canes 100% of the time.  Lebo has a passion for learning about cool trucks, jeeps and RVs and has developed a love for camping.  Lebo attended his first full week of overnight camp in 2022 and has two full weeks of camp planned for this summer.  Lebo continues to go to St. Louis Children’s Hospital weekly for therapy and is still working towards a goal of independent steps!”