PEORIA - A local teenager is choosing to give his Make A Wish to those in need. Niko Elias nearly lost his life 3 years ago, but if you saw him today you'd think he looked like any other 19 year old.
"Me, my family we have a very close relationship with OSF they did a spectacular job, like i mean an amazing job, I was in really bad shape" said Niko Elias, the Make A Wish recipeint.
When Niko was 16 years old he had a brain stem stroke. Niko's sister was with him at the time.
"I just knew something wasn't right" said Niko's sister Gabby Elias.
That's when Gabby called an ambulance.
"They said if I would have waited 10 to 15 minutes longer he would have been gone."
Niko received extensive treatment at OSF Healthcare Illinois Neurological Institute in Peoria.
3 years later, he's made a full recovery. During his treatment, he made friends with another patient who inspired him to give back.
"We raise this money we can give Kyle Wood that machine, and I just cant imagine the feeling his mom would feel after struggling for two years with this therapy" said Niko.
Because of his stroke, Niko got a wish, and he's using it to purchase an exoskeleton - or 2.
"If you buy 2, you get a 10% discount, which is a great kicker" said Niko.
Kristi Gibbs, the in-patient rehab services manager at St. Francis, said the exoskeleton could improve stroke patient's recovery time.
"The exo provides a very safe comfortable way for patients who aren't able to walk on their own to walk in a controlled environment...So they're getting that normal right, left right" said Gibbs.
Tons of people can use one machine, so like 20, 30 people can use one exoskeleton" said Niko.
Gabby said her brother has always had a giving heart, and is proud of his choice.
"I admire my brother, even though I'm the older one, he's wiser than, you know I look up to him" said Gabby.
Niko hopes to raise $300,000 to buy 2 exoskeletons. If you'd like to help him fulfill his wish, you can donate here.
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