Ruby Melchior (center) enjoys a recent family outing with her brother, Jun (left), and father, Paul (right). (photo courtesy of Robin Melchior)
GoFundMe Targets Van For Ruby
A GoFundMe fundraising account has been established to help the family of a young Scripps Ranch resident stricken with a brain bleed, in an effort to get the specialized van needed to transport her.
In July 2017, Ruby Melchior had recently finished her freshman year at Scripps Ranch High School, having done well in her studies, playing cello in the school’s orchestra class and pole vaulting on the Falcons track team. By all accounts, she was a bright, active girl who also volunteered in the community. But Ruby’s life and that of her family changed on July 24 of that year.
That’s when Ruby suffered a brain bleed from a previously undiagnosed arteriovenous malformation (AVM), a tangle of abnormal blood vessels connecting arteries and veins in the brain. After initial emergency medical procedures were conducted to relieve the pressure from the bleeding and fluid around her brain, Ruby returned to her hospital room where she was initially unresponsive. She was placed on a ventilator and then underwent four hours of surgery to remove the AVM. Ruby spent a month in the intensive care unit and then another four months in intensive inpatient rehabilitation, according to her mother, Robin.
“She was in the hospital a good three-quarters of her sophomore year,” Robin said.
Ruby has returned to school now, but she needs the help of an assistant. As the GoFundMe account states, the brain bleed and subsequent procedures left her unable to play the cello, piano, run track or even attend school without assistance. That’s because she is unable to control the movement of her arms and legs, has double vision that she didn’t have before, and has paralysis on one side of her face, affecting her speech.
“Her life has just been turned upside down,” Robin said.
Erika Fellars, a former Scripps Ranch resident and Ruby’s piano teacher back in 2009, heard about what happened to Ruby and what her family was going through. Fellars visited Ruby in the hospital and reached out to Robin, eventually learning about the need for a specialized, $75,000 van.
Ruby recently got a motorized wheelchair, which is necessary because she can’t move a non-motorized chair on her own. The motorized chair is great for Ruby, but it weighs a lot more than a regular chair, leaving Robin, Ruby’s younger brother, Jun, and Ruby’s father, Paul, struggling to load it in and out of a regular, non-modified minivan.
“It’s a lot. Between therapy and other appointments, she has six to nine appointments per week — outside of school. So, we’re all over the place,” Robin said. “If we go to two places, that’s bringing the chair in and out four times. In the rain, the ramp is slippery and it’s very hard to control the chair.”
The GoFundMe account was established by Fellars and her husband to help the Melchiors buy a new van that can be modified with a proper ramp, rubber floor mats to aid maneuverability and more room for assisting family members to move around.
“I told my husband, Todd, what the family was going through, and he said, ‘We need to do something, this isn’t right, they can’t go for the next 20 years doing this,’” Fellars explained. “We thought, we’ll do what we can. We started the fund with some of our own money to get it moving.”
Robin appreciates the support of the Fellars.
“Erika has been just wonderful,” she said.
Fellars said the goal is to raise $75,000 to cover the cost of a new van for Ruby and to get the necessary customizations done to it at a mobility center. To learn more or contribute, visit gofundme.com/let039s-get-hot-wheels-for-ruby (bit.ly/2FvvsCL).