SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — Koa Cole will turn 1 on January 20, and this year has had its share of scary episodes.
His parents — mom Taylor Cauffman and dad Chelsea Cole — have spent months trying to figure out what’s happening with their little boy. In the process they’ve sold their car to make ends meet for their family in Salem — only to find out they need doctors in Portland.
Over the summer they noticed Koa wasn’t using his left side. Then, this past autumn, the episodes started.
“He basically slumps forward and his arms go straight out and his eyes roll to the back of his head,” Taylor told KOIN 6 News. “He just sort of slumps forward like this and he stops breathing.”
She said when that happens she feels “helpless because you don’t know how to help him.”
They said there have been non-stop trips to the doctor and they missed so much work caring for him they said they lost their jobs.
“We can’t leave him with people that aren’t, you know, specialized in helping with him,” she said. “We don’t have that care yet. We don’t have that help so it’s just up to us to be his advocate because he can’t be one for himself.”
Taylor said they spend their time educating themselves on what Koa needs.
In November, they made a choice.
“We ended up selling our car in order to pay our rent, to pay our electric, to pay our phone,” she said. “We had to sell everything just to make sure that we still had our house and that our kids were still being fed.”
Then in December, Koa was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. He continues to have what his parents believe are mini-seizures and they’re getting worse. They say he needs care and treatment from doctors that specialize in children.
“In order to do that, ” she said, “we need to drive from Salem to Doernbecher (Children’s Hospital.)”
But they don’t have a vehicle.
“We can’t take him to where he needs to be, so we’re stuck in a town that doesn’t have the resources to help someone his size.”
A community member contacted KOIN 6 News about the family’s GoFundMe page as they try to raise funds for a reliable car.
“We’re trying to raise enough money to where we can get our son to Doernbecher’s every single day if we have to until we can get answers,” Taylor said.
They say Koa — whom they call their MVP — deserves that as they fight for his health and future.
“No matter what the diagnosis is, no matter what the case ends up being, we’re going to be his supporters 100%,” she said.