While many students wake up dreading heading off to another day at school, Lukas Nedelco would do anything to be sitting there at a desk alongside the other students. He was born with a chronic granulomatous disease (CDG), which was fortunately cured via a bone marrow transplant, but it also left his immune system unable to fight infections -- thus no germ-filled classrooms.
Thanks to a technologically astute teacher, a willing school, and creative parents, however, Nedelco takes a virtual seat in his classroom every day via Skype. While the fifth grader says he misses the "fun" classes like gym and music, he's happy to be there in many senses. Both he and fellow students feel like he's part of the class, and he's even maintained his reputation as class clown from afar. Fellow student Madison Clark told NBC:
It feels like he's in here. It feels like he's just sitting in a chair right there, just with us all the time.
He's inspiration to other students as well. His teacher, Emalee Rogers, told the station:
They talk about how they wake up in the morning and they may not want to go to school, and they think about Lukas, and he wants to be here and can't be here, and it motivates them.
While Nedelco's initial prognosis wouldn't have allowed him to live more than 10 years, with the bone marrow transplant, he will likely lead a normal life. He may even be able to start attending classes in person this fall.
The Internet and technology often get a bad rap for all the dangers and distractions they present to our children -- and they do that too, no doubt (hello tween sexting!) -- but it's great to see parents and educators working together and using it to help students, especially those in unique situations like this. Going through such a health battle is difficult enough, but adding the isolation on top of it has got to be almost as challenging for kids who are at a very social age. This is a fantastic example for other students and families to consider when they're faced with similar circumstances.
Have your children's schools come up with creative technology solutions to assist students who need them?
Image via re-ality/Flickr