New Support Group Forming

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When you're going through a tough time, it always helps to have support from people who have been there.  That's what one woman from Scranton insists, as she helps her young son with health issues.  She's forming a support group for families with Erb's Palsy.

We recently caught up with two handsome little boys, Lorenzo and Mariano Leo, brothers from Scranton.  Mariano is a bit wobbly; his arm is in a cast right now, correcting an arm injury.  He has what's called Erb's Palsy.  His mother Deanna says she'd never heard of it.

"It's countless doctors appointments, it's internet research about Erb's Palsy and there's nothing in the area, no support group," said Leo.

That's why she's launching one this month.  She says she's been blessed with help and wants to pass some of that help onto others.

Erb's Palsy involves injury to the brachial plexis, the upper group of the arm's main nerves surrounding the shoulder.  To help Mariano develop properly, a physical therapist from United Cerebral Palsy, or UCP, works with him weekly.

"It's the most wonderful job in the world," Jennifer Malak told us.  She's a UCP physical therapist working on Mariano's balance, encouraging him to walk unassisted over speed bumps to grab a toy airplane.  Malak says she understands Deanna's dream to get an Erb's Palsy support group off the ground.

"We can give her advice and ideas and I can say, this is what other parents did.  But to talk another mom is a totally different thing," said Malak.

The support group will hold its first meeting this month, and once a month, at United Cerebral Palsy of NEPA, 425 Wyoming Avenue in Scranton.  Specific dates and times will be determined based on participants availability.  Parents, spouses, caregivers and siblings are welcome.

Deanna Leo hopes that by sharing Mariano's story, she'll be able to help him better, and help other parents who find themselves in her shoes.

"I truly feel if you do not have a good support system, you have nowhere to go," she said.

In addition to participants, Deanna says she's looking for speakers and presenters for the support group.  If you're interested or have questions, you can call her at 570-687-2539.  You can also find information at the United Cerebral Palsy of NEPA website.