Maple Ridge’s Nicolas is an SMA success story

Seven-year-old will feature in Variety Show of Hearts Telethon where-are-they-now segment Sunday

One of Maple Ridge’s bravest seven-year-olds will appear on Variety Show of Hearts Telethon 2020 this Sunday (Feb. 9).

Readers of The News will be familiar with Nicolas Schwuchow, who was diagnosed at a young age with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a genetic disease which limits his ability to build and maintain muscle.

The challenges have been many for Nicolas but thanks to an incredibly supportive community and charity efforts like the Variety Show of Hearts Telethon, his life has been made a little easier.

Sunday’s show will feature Nicolas in a – where are they now – segment airing between 11 a.m. and noon.

“We want [donors] to see that their dollars stay right where they live,” said Variety spokesperson, Donnie Gordon.

“Those that call in Maple Ridge can rest assured that their money stays in Maple Ridge.”

READ MORE: The benefits of Variety

Gordon said the show is proud to be supporting these inspirational children.

“He’s an amazing kid and we’ve helped him out and will continue to help him and other kids with the generosity of Variety donors.”

Nicolas’ mom, Petra Fellinger, provided some positive updates that will be discussed on the show.

“He’s in Grade 2 and doing really well as school,” she said, “He’s fully integrated in the classroom, which is awesome. We’re really fortunate.”

She also shared some information on the treatment Nicolas has been receiving.

“Three years ago he was started on the one-and-only Health Canada approved treatment for SMA.”

Called Spinraza, it is a drug treatment that is administered directly into the cervical spine through a lumbar puncture every four months.

While the delivery is unpleasant for the second grader, his mom said the treatment has helped quite a lot.

“He’s continuing to gain strength little-by-little, so that’s been really great,” Fellinger said, “He uses a power chair for mobility but he’s gained strength through his upper body. His neck [is stronger, and] he’s got way more use of his hands and his arms. His back is a lot stronger, so he’s able to sit independently and even his voice has gotten stronger.”

READ MORE: Nicolas needs a ‘Guardian angel’

It was also three years ago, when Nicolas’ parents decided to reach out to Variety for help with a home renovation they needed to perform in order to make life a little easier for their son.

Fellinger said the family has just moved into the new home, which had been taken down to the studs and built from scratch.

“It’s a fully open plan, so [Nicolas] can go anywhere in our house,” she said.

“We have an elevator, a bigger bedroom for him, and a fully accessible shower. The only thing that’s not done yet is the pool so he can do his aqua exercises water treatment.”

The community in Maple Ridge and surrounding areas helped immensely.

“We’ve had a lot of community support both labour wise and products that have been donated,” Fellinger said.

Everything from flooring to windows to cabinetry, light fixtures, electrical and plumbing were helped out with..

“We reached out to [Variety] because we needed some support for a standing frame and they contacted us this year because they thought it would be nice to have him on the show to do a follow up and see how he’s doing.”

Fellinger and Variety see Nicolas as a community success story.

“He’s probably one of the happiest kids we know,” Nicolas’ mom said.

“One of his catch phrases is, ‘Today is the best day ever.”’

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Just Posted

School District 42 provides update on continued learning plan

Superintendent Sylvia Russell says staff will be in touch with Ridge Meadows students and families

LETTER: Upset by province’s stance against Lower Mainland hospice

Vocal Maple Ridge anti-MAiDs advocate opposes cancelling of contract with Delta facility

LETTER: Pandemic a little surreal for this guy

One day soon, COVID-19 will simply be a footnote: one Maple Ridge reader

GUEST VIEW: Media importance never more apparent than with COVID-19

In swan-song column, reporter Phil Melnychuk suggests more concerted PR early on might have helped

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLA Lisa Beare announces $3 million in provincial funding for Arts and Culture

Eligible clients will receive supplement of up to $15,000 in early April to help pay bills

‘Tremendous’ response from blood donors has supply keeping pace with demand

About 400,000 of Canada’s 37 million residents give blood on a regular basis

Morning world update: Cases surge past 600,000; positive news in Germany

Spain suffers its deadliest day as Germany considers April 20 to possibly loosen restrictions

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

Significant snowfall forecast for Interior mountain passes

Allison Pass, the Okanagan Connector, Rogers Pass and Kootenay Pass could see 15 to 25 cm of snow

Kids get back to learning in B.C., online

Ministry of Education rolls out new tool for school

67 more B.C. COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Vancouver region

Positive tests found in Surrey, Langley long-term care facilities

‘Now is not the time to bag that peak’: BCSAR manager discourages risky outdoor adventures

Call volumes are not going down, even as the COVID-19 pandemic persists

Most Read