At 18 months old, Elijah was a healthy, vibrant, and active boy. His mother Xithlali was a single, hard-working woman doing everything in her power to support the love of her life: her son. Life was good, but one dreadful afternoon everything would change.
Elijah's babysitter found him face down at the bottom of her pool while his mother was at work, completely unaware of the tragedy that was taking place mere miles from where she worked.
It took first responders over 37 minutes to revive Elijah through relentless CPR—and that doesn't include the unknown time he was submerged. The damage was so severe that doctors only gave Elijah 12 hours to live. He proved them wrong and muscled his way through the night, as well as the next few weeks.
"He was left with a brain injury, not allowing him to speak, eat, walk or do anything he once used to do," his mother Xithlali told us. "It just kills me, you know, he used to do everything that a normal two-year-old can do. Even then some, as he was so smart—and all of a sudden he's just lying down all the time."
Due to breathing difficulties, Elijah now lives with a tracheostomy tube in his throat, as well as a feeding tube in his stomach. Because of the breathing tube coupled with his spastic-quadriplegia, it's not only difficult to move Elijah around, but to find adequate seating for him is always a challenge.
One of our Holton's Heroes members saw the plea for help Xithlali had posted on a public Facebook group. She was requesting a gently used special needs chair for her son, because although he desperately needed one, she couldn't afford it. After learning about his accidental drowning, it didn't take long for our team to reach out and get Xithlali's son set up with something better than the makeshift beanbag they had been using.
Holton's Heroes was able to provide Elijah with a Special Tomato Chair as well as a brand-new EIO Push Chair, which is an over-sized stroller for special needs toddlers like Elijah.
We are so honored to be able to help make life a little easier for this southern California family. If you'd like to help Elijah directly, you can purchase a t-shirt here that will help fund specialized outpatient therapy Elijah is currently undergoing.