BUFFALO, N.Y (WKBW) — Every year, WKBW teams up with the Variety Club and Oishei Children's Hospital to raise money for local kids through the Variety Kids Telethon. The children who are helped through the telethon show how much is possible when Western New York comes together.
This year's celebrity child is Victoria Reyes, and she's faced more challenges than most in her six years. She was born by emergency C-section after her twin sister Angelina died in the womb. Victoria was only 28-weeks-old, but she was already a fighter.
"The doctor said when he cut the sack, the first thing she pulled out was her arm. And she grabbed his finger," said her mother, Natalia Reyes.
Victoria was taken directly to the NICU at the Pennsylvania hospital where she was born. Her first weeks of her life were filled with wires, feeding and oxygen tubes.
"Sometimes all those alarms would go on. All the time. Her oxygen was going down. It was very hard," her mom remembered.
But that resilient three pound baby continued to grow, and soon, she was a cheery toddler. As she got older, Victoria was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Her family moved to Buffalo, and that's where they were connected with the John R. Oishei Children's Hospital.
"They have amazing doctors" said Natalia. "They offer all the help they can. They go beyond their power to help all those kids."
Through the Robert Warner Center at the hospital, Victoria was able to see top doctors, who offered unique treatment options, like Botox to help strengthen her legs, rehab, and aqua therapy. She gets stronger and stronger every day, and continues to make advances.
"She can sit up more on her own," said her mom. "She has more control of her trunk, she has more strength on her arms as well."
Victoria is able to keep up with her older sisters Sophia and Isabella, and the three love coloring and playing on their iPads. Her parents credit the growth they've seen in Victoria to the help they've gotten from Oishei Children's Hospital.
"To see other people who don't have the facilities that we have here - we are blessed," said Victoria's father Louis. "Every single step of her life is going to be easier. And that's what we're looking forward to."
"As long as everything is easier for her, we're happy, echoed her mother. "Because we just want her to be happy."
If you'd like to donate to the Variety Kids Telethon, you can click here.