Mariah’s Miracle Grants $15k for Wheelchair Van to Pediatric Therapy Patient

Just like most 15-year-old boys, Ronaldo loves his sleep! But unlike others, Ronaldo was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a progressive disorder that leads to muscle degeneration and weakness. While he still has some use of his legs to walk, over an extended period of time like school, Ronaldo needs to use a wheelchair. Sadly, over time, Ronaldo will need a wheelchair at all times.

Before Mariah’s Miracle, Ronaldo would wake up before 5 a.m. every morning to eat and get ready for the school bus to pick him up at 5:30 a.m. Insufficient sleep led to headaches, frustration, and general sadness. Ronaldo’s mother, who often works late nights, would awake every morning just as early to help him get ready. At first, bus drivers even had technical issues with the ramp which was not only embarrassing but caused delays in transportation to school. With no other way to transport him to school, medical appointments were either scheduled after school or Ronaldo would have to miss the day. If he got sick or needed to come home early, Ronaldo’s only option was to walk. The impact of all of these challenges on a 15 year old are unmeasurable and unfair.

“Mariah’s Miracle is blessed to grant Ronaldo and his family the $15,000 necessary for a down payment towards a wheelchair accessible van,” says Jennifer Gile, Mariah’s Miracle President. “Ronaldo deserves to live without restrictions due to transportation. We are thankful that through events and fundraising, Mariah’s Miracle has the ability to help this amazing family.”

After receiving the van, Ronaldo’s family noticed a significant improvement in his demeanor. He wakes up every morning ready to conquer the day. He is more excited for school and is smiling much more. This school year, Ronaldo has been using his electric wheelchair. Between the van and this, Ronaldo has gained significantly more independence and now has more opportunity to be a part of family activities and travel. They even have hopes of travelling to New York!

“This grant was completely unexpected,” says Maria, Ronaldo’s Mother. “Just to know that there are people and groups out there actively trying to help us and others is amazing. I am beyond grateful for the impact this van has on Ronaldo’s happiness and life. It helps me know that despite what Ronaldo will face in the future, he is going to be okay.”

“We all underestimate the ease most of us have going to appointments and getting where we need to be,” says Isela, Ronaldo’s older sister, who submitted the grant to Mariah’s Miracle. “This is the least we can do for Ronaldo to have as normal a life as possible.”

Mariah’s Miracle, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, was created in honor of AzOPT & Kids Place pediatric physical therapist Mariah Devries, who was lost to cancer at the young age of 26, two months after giving birth to a beautiful baby girl, Clara.  Mariah’s Miracle further expands her life and legacy by establishing a fund to help pediatric therapy patients and their families offset the cost of therapy and equipment that insurance does not otherwise provide. In 2022, their first full year of operations, Mariah’s Miracle granted 17 children over $70,000 in therapy and equipment needs.

Mariah’s Miracle next event, the 2nd Annual Cornhole Tournament and Fundraiser, will be held Saturday, April 1, 2023 at The Cabin Whiskey and Grill, 9868 West Northern Avenue in Peoria, Arizona. To register a team or purchase meal tickets, please visit For sponsorship opportunities, please email Hailey Satterfield at