Amauri Williams is scheduled to leave Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte on Tuesday and plans to be with his classmates at Merriwether Middle School on the first day of the new year Thursday.
“He can start school, we just don’t know if he can go all day,” his mother, Sarah Hemingway, said Friday. “He can walk, but he’s wobbly.”
He’ll have to start out using a walker or wheelchair, she said, but has made such progress, his doctors are amazed.
“He’s gone through it all with a smile on his face,” Hemingway said.
The family’s North Augusta apartment is 32 steps up, and that might be a challenge at first. Amauri has climbed 37 steps in rehab, but not after a long day at school.
He’s building his strength daily but still has a way to go in other areas, such as speaking.
“He’s talking very nasally,” his mother said. “He’s got to retrain that muscle in the back of his throat to get it out his mouth instead of his nose.”
The family hopes to be settled in back home by Wednesday and have planned a small welcome home pizza party with members of Amauri’s baseball team.
The athletic 12-year-old, who had played baseball since he was 4, was hit hard and fast by two illnesses – juvenile myocitis with myocarditis, a rare inflammation of the muscles, and cardiomyopathy, an enlarged heart.
He’s still on blood thinners and medication for his blood pressure and heart and probably will stay on them long-term, his mother said.
“He won’t be playing baseball anytime soon,” Hemingway said. “But we’re hoping he can get back to some kind of sports activity in a year.”
His parents are watching him closely because they know the juvenile myelitis could come back.
That’s scary, Hemingway said, but “now that we know the signs, we can be on the lookout for them.”
Once they’re back and settled, one of the first things Amauri’s parents want to do is volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House in Augusta, to repay the kindness they were shown at the house in Charlotte.
At first, the cash-strapped family wasn’t sure they could get in, and – expecting a three-month stay – were facing big hotel bills. But it worked out,Hemingway said.
“The Ronald McDonald House was amazing,” she said. “It was such a blessing.”
Reach James Folker at (706) 823-3338 or firstname.lastname@example.org.