Fundraiser planned for family of Walla Walla boy who suffered a seizure

Geoff Folsom, Tri-City HeraldJune 5, 2014 

The family of a Walla Walla boy who suffered a seizure in the bathtub is asking for help.

Gabriel Scheel, 5, has been in Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane since May 13, shortly after his mother picked him up at school because he had a high fever.

At home, Gabriel wanted to take a cold bath, said his father, Michael Scheel, a Pasco native.

His mother left him in the tub for a few minutes to take a phone call from his father, only to return and find him in the water.

Gabriel was on a ventilator until two weeks ago. Michael Scheel said his son is doing better, but there is still uncertainty because of swelling caused by oxygen not getting to his brain.

His family is trying hyperbaric treatment for Gabriel in Spokane Valley. He had his first treatment Thursday.

"It's been a really, really slow process," Michael Scheel said of the boy's recovery. "We're hoping it helps."

But his father, a 20-year teacher at DeSales High School in Walla Walla, said insurance won't pay for the treatment or the ambulance to take Gabriel to Spokane Valley. It costs $350 each way.

So the Scheels are hoping people will help out by donating to an account set up at any US Bank location. Friends and family are also organizing a car wash to raise money at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Firestone at 4515 Road 68 in Pasco.

Family friend Teresa Sundblad of Pasco is helping out with the car wash. She said an earlier Internet campaign raised $30,000, but much more is needed for the family, which lives off one income and has five sons.

"There's no way they're going to be able to handle all of it, it's going to be a huge burden," she said. "We just want to help out."

At least 20 volunteers are assisting with the car wash. Some of them don't even know the family, Sundblad said.

"It's just amazing to see the outpouring from the community," she said. "It kind of restores your faith in humanity."

People have been supportive of the family, Michael Scheel said. One woman made bracelets saying "Pray for Gabe," while others have helped with household chores, like keeping their lawn mowed.

"The community has really rallied together," he said. "They're all hoping and praying for the best."

-- Geoff Folsom: 509-582-1543; gfolsom@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @GeoffFolsom

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