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Ruben Is On The Move Despite Transverse Myelitis


Ruben bikes down the street in his neighborhood with his mom and homecare nurse behind him, shark helmet protecting his head, as he ‘pedals’ with his hands. His big smile shows that Ruben is one happy boy who knows how to enjoy life.

“He’s got a great personality. He talks to everyone right away, and he’s just really an outgoing little boy,” remarks mom Joyce.

Ruben contacted Transverse Myelitis at four months old – a condition that affected his legs so he can’t walk, and also had an affect on his lung functionality. Thanks to his trach and his RT, Summer (who he came to visit at the PHS office – see their photo to the right), he is breathing easy and is on a vent when he sleeps to ensure his oxygen levels are maintained throughout the night.

Additionally, he has a g-tube for feedings but is beginning to experiment with eating things orally. While it’s been a trial as they work with foods, it’s something that they are confident will be successful – slowly but surely.

But Ruben doesn’t let his medical complexities slow him down.  “Otherwise, he’s very normal. He’ll try to do anything,” says Joyce. “We got him into karate which he absolutely loves; we’re doing baseball with Miracle League. But he really loves karate.”

Adoption Brings Ruben Home


Joyce and her husband, Bob, adopted Ruben after learning about him through Adopt MN, and they knew right away that he was the perfect addition to their family.

“We met him, and she asked if we wanted to meet him again, and I said no, the next time you bring him you’ll be bringing him to live at our house. It was a quick situation,” remembers Joyce. He has been with their family since he was a year and eight months old, but it seems like he’s been with them all along – and they are certainly one happy family.

A Boy on the Move


Today, Ruben chats about trips to the Minnesota Zoo and the dinosaurs he saw, loves to play in his sandbox (mom and dad have set up a method for him to open the screen door to the deck himself without needing to reach the handle), pedals with a special bike that uses hands to propel him rather than his feet, and attends pre-school.

“He’s a goer. We bring him wherever we’re going to go – he’s a great traveler,” says mom as she chases after Ruben, busy biking down the street.

Originally published: October 4, 2013
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