Julian "Bug" Cruz was born at 28 weeks, 3 months premature. Doctors gave him little chance of survival following a massive brain bleed the night he was born. When he did survive, they said he would be a vegetable. When he didn't become a vegetable, they said he would never sit up, speak, hear, crawl, stand, or run.
On May 19, 2012, his 10th birthday, Julian won both bronze and gold medals in the Special Olympics Florida State Games as a cyclist. Although he has shunted hydrocephalus, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and is severely hearing-impaired, Julian is an Olympian. He has faced every obstacle with courage, and maintained a winner's attitude.
Because speech is his primary mode of communication, he would be far behind his profoundly-deaf, ASL-fluent peers, and so cannot attend the Florida School for the Deaf with any hope for succes. His many health problems and multiple disabilities prevent him from attending a public school. His best opportunity is to attend Blossom Montessori School for the Deaf in Clearwater, where deaf and hard-of-hearing student (like our Bug) learn from American Sign Language-fluent teachers (his teacher is a wonderful deaf woman named Katelyn Vetter), and which is equipped to handle children with additional health concerns. Deaf students learn alongside their hearing siblings, as well as CODAs (children of deaf adults).
Tuition for Blossom is $7,000 per school year. Julian and his mother will have to move to Clearwater for the school year, which is an additional and crippling expense. If you have the means to help Julian in his journey to attend school this year and more, to have the same opportunity for educational excellence typical children receive, please consider making a donation toward his tuition. Or repost this page's link everywhere and anywhere you can think of. The more people who see it, the better chance that Julian will get the support he needs. If each of your Facebook friends, or Twitter followers, or group members, or what have you gives a single dollar donation, it'll add up very fast and gets Julian closer to having what every child should have: the opportunity to reach his full potential, to become a self-sufficient, confident, educated member of society.
If there's anything else you'd like to know, don't hesitate to drop your question in the comments area. We'll be happy to share. Julian is a superhero to everyone who meets him, and we'd be glad to help you get to know him better. We even have Bugzilla-branded merchandise in the plan, so check back often for updates. Again, thank you so very much.
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