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Physician gives South African boy hope of walking

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 8, 2013 at 9:40 am •  Published: February 8, 2013

Throughout the past two years, Andre has regular physical therapy that includes swimming and riding horses bareback to strengthen his muscles and tendons. He can walk if someone holds his hand or he's holding onto something, his father said.

Andre is still gaining strength in his legs and developing his sense of balance, de Guisti said.

The boy also will abandon his walker and scuttle around on his hands and feet.

The walker makes his legs tired, said Jill Weiss, Dr. Arno Weiss's wife.

The experience in hospitals has had some effect on Andre. While he is a happy and active boy, his mother said, Ande is cautious of hospitals and doesn't like seeing people wearing scrubs and surgical masks.

The family returned to Saginaw in January 2013 for checkups with DeBari and the Covenant staff.

Amore de Guisti said she was nervous about what DeBari might say, but all was well.

"He's doing very well," DeBari said. "Better than I expected."

Andre needs more physical therapy and potentially more surgeries, he said.

Still, DeBari said he is confident Andre will be able to walk unaided.

The elder Dino de Guisti said it's nice to see the Covenant staff and the people of mid-Michigan have been friendly.

The de Guistis again are staying with the Weisses, with whom they have grown close.

"It's like having more children," Jill Weiss said as she held the de Guistis 6-month-old son, Dino. "They call us Oma Jill and Opa Arnie."