How ‘Modern Family’ Actor Eric Stonestreet Helped Teen with Cerebral Palsy

How ‘Modern Family’ Actor Eric Stonestreet Helped Teen with Cerebral Palsy

We often hear so many terrible things in the news that we want to turn off our radio or TV. Stories about people being unkind to each other, political controversy, violence, murder.

So it was a breath of fresh air to hear a story about an actor from the television show “Modern Family” reaching out to a 19-year-old with cerebral palsy.

Tristan Wiesing’s condition limits his walking and talking. He also has gastrointestinal problems that have required a feeding tube for three years. On top of that, Wiesing needs surgery to make his tendons less tight so he can become more mobile. The surgery is called tendon release surgery.

Cerebral palsy can make swallowing food difficult. Many people with the condition have difficulty eating. In fact, some need a feeding tube to insure they obtain sufficient nutrition.

Many people with cerebral palsy also have very tight tendons in their knees, wrists, ankles and other parts of their body that make stretching and moving difficult. Surgery helps release the tendons so they can be straightened easier.

Doctors at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City suggested that Wiesing get a second opinion on his condition and the surgery. They advised him to see Dr. Samuel Nurko of Boston Children’s Hospital, who is so good at what he does that he was featured in the movie “Miracles from Heaven.” Wiesing agreed to huddle with Nurko, but logistics and finances were a problem.

Actor Eric Stonestreet from the television show “Modern Family” stepped end to lend a hand. Wiesing has been in and out of Children’s Mercy for his gastrointestinal issues, according to The Kansas City Star. Stonestreet met him at the Big Slick Kansas City fund-raiser for Children’s Mercy Hospital. The actor joined other notables, including Rob Riggle, Paul Rudd, Jason Sudeikis, and David Koechner, at the fund-raiser.

Wiesing and Stonestreet became friends and stayed in touch by email. Stonestreet also sent videos to brighten Wiesing’s day.

When Stonestreet learned that Wiesing needed to see Nurko, he arranged an appointment. Wiesing has to travel with a lot of medical equipment, however, so flying on a commercial airliner was out. Flying with any disability isn’t easy, but when you add medical equipment, it can be really daunting.

Stonestreet asked his friend Jimmy John Liautaud, owner of the Jimmy John’s restaurant chain, to help. Liautaud agreed to fly Wiesing from Kansas City to Boston on his private jet. As you can imagine, the Wiesing family was ecstatic. They had set up a GoFundMe page to cover the expenses of the Boston trip.

Stonestreet posted a picture on social media of Wiesing, his father and grandfather winging their way to Boston on the jet. In addition to wishing the family Godspeed, he thanked Liautaud for his help. Now there’s a TV script with a happy ending!


Note: Cerebral Palsy News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cerebral Palsy News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cerebral palsy.

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