The Oceanside boy who was hit by an unlicensed teen drunk driver has made a significant recovery and will get help from the local community to pay for medical expenses.
The Mitchell Thorp Foundation will hold its second annual walk-a-thon on Jan. 22 at Pointsettia Park in Carlsbad. Izaiah Wallis and his family will be one of the beneficiaries of the money raised.
Izaiah, who is now 20 months old, was in a stroller being pushed by his grandfather Abraham Verde on Oct. 18 when a teenager drove up on the sidewalk at the 4100 block of Lake Boulevard in Oceanside and the SUV plowed into the pair. In the crash, Izaiah's spine was separated from his skull. Verde, too, suffered great bodily injury but also survived the incident..
After being in a coma and undergoing six surgeries, Izaiah has made progress in his recovery.
"We're able to hold him," said Jacob Wallis, Izaiah's father. "That's a real good thing. He's real happy about that because before he was just always laying in the bed. But now we can take him out the bed."
Wallis said his son was released from critical care in mid-December and surprised doctors with his strength and ability to move.
While Izaiah's parents are rejoicing about his recovery, the costs are piling up. Initially, medical bills reached $30,000 per day -- and Izaiah did not have medical insurance. Due to the severity of his injuries, long-term medical expenses are likely, and the Mitchell Thorp Foundation is doing what it can to help.
"We understand what they're going through," said Beth Thorp of the Mitchell Thorp Foundation. "Their life has turned upside down, and the financial stress is just overwhelming."
Brad and Beth Thorp lost their son Mitchell two years ago to an illness that doctor's couldn't diagnose. Now they raise money for families just like Izaiah's who need the help. The funds cover more that just doctor visits.
"Over 70 percent of the families who go through a tragedy like this end up in divorce," Brad said. "We're trying to keep the family together so the child can have a stable life."
The 17-year-old driver of the SUV, who is not being identified because he is a juvenile, later admitted in court to drunk driving and causing great bodily injury to the grandfather and grandson. The charges included causing paralysis to a child. In November, the teen was sentenced to the maximum penalty allowed: a term not to exceed 480 days in the juvenile court systems's youthful offender unit. The county's probation department had recommended a 1-year sentence at Camp Barrett.