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"He's a little miracle"

"He's just a really inspiring little boy," Becky Sander, P.T., says of Paul Stumpf-Blanco and the progress he has made.

Providence Newberg
Medical Center

Providence Newberg provided $5,809,000 in community benefits in 2010, including $5,061,000 in free or reduced-cost care to patients in need.

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Little Paul Stumpf-Blanco loves to blow bubbles at his pet pug, Chester. He also loves to play a lilting "Happy Feet" song by pressing just the right key on his portable augmentative communication device.

"He just has the sweetest disposition," says his mother, Lisa, "even after being through as much as he's been through."

In his four years of life, Paul has endured scores of surgeries, medical procedures and hospital stays. He was born with a life-threatening esophageal condition and hydrocephalus, an excessive buildup of fluid in his brain.

The CT scan of her newborn's brain looked "absolutely terrifying," Lisa recalls, and doctors couldn't predict whether he would end up severely impaired. At 5 months, Paul was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

Providence Newberg Medical Center writes off part of the cost of his therapies that is not paid by the Oregon Health Plan, the state Medicaid program.

Soon after his diagnosis Paul began long, often grueling physical and occupational therapy at Providence Neurodevelopmental Center for Children in Newberg.

The therapy helps anything from easing stiffness in his left hand to building strength in his legs.

"One moment for me that is above all," says physical therapist Becky Sander, "is the first time he walked with the walker, and Lisa and I both started crying." Months later Paul astounded his mom when, returning with her from a trip to the mailbox, he literally left his walker behind.

Paul has emerged as a bright little boy who can dash through the house and flash an impish smile during speech therapy sessions.

"I tell you, they all have made such a huge difference with him," Lisa says of her son's therapists. "He's like a little miracle. He's a blessing."