Jasmin Cervantes-García, the sole survivor of a fatal crash in Mexico last summer, has persevered for eight months to learn to walk again after suffering serious brain injuries. Amid her long recovery, she received a device from a nonprofit that will help her mobility.
The Bioness L300 Go is an electrical stimulation tool that helps overcome the ailment known as foot drop, a condition that causes difficulty walking and an irregular stride. When worn on the calf, the device emits low-level electrical pulses to stimulate the affected muscle, enabling patients to lift their foot and improve their walking.
The donation was made on Friday during a Freedom to Walk Foundation event in Brandon. The group is dedicated to providing support and resources to individuals with mobility challenges.
“Donors have numerous options when it comes to making donations, but we are incredibly grateful that they chose to contribute towards Jasmin’s device, which will aid her in walking,” said Daisy Vega, founder and president of Freedom to Walk Foundation.
Most insurance companies deny coverage for this device because it is considered experimental. With an out-of-pocket expense of $5,500, the cost is “prohibitive,” she said.
Vega suffered foot drop as a result of multiple sclerosis. But she was fortunate to purchase a device a decade ago. After two and a half years of wearing it, she said she was able to walk again.
Vega’s personal experience inspired her to help others like Jasmin.
“Our Freedom to Walk Foundation may be a small nonprofit, but our impact in helping those in need is significant,” she said.
Jasmin, a 13-year-old girl from Wimauma, lost her parents, Angélica Cervantes, 45, and J. Cruz Cervantes, 50, and her grandparents, Enrique and Alicia Cervantes, after the June 23 crash in the Mexican state of Guanajuato. They were heading back to Tampa after spending a week visiting relatives and friends.
Jasmin suffered serious injuries to her left frontal lobe, the area that controls memory, language and movement. She was on a ventilator and had to stay in a Mexican hospital for three weeks.
She was flown back to Tampa Bay and received treatment at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg for over four months. She was temporarily transferred to a rehab facility in Jacksonville, where she gradually regained her strength. Eight months ago Jasmin began attending hour-long therapies at Johns Hopkins to learn how to talk and walk again.
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Jasmin’s aunt, Cindy García, expressed her gratitude to the community and the foundation for their help. She said her niece has a strong will and determination. Every day is a challenge, but she does everything to win.
“Our family is very happy because of this donation,” García said. “Jasmin is a fighter, and she’s doing great.”