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Brotherly Love: Locals Help Girl From Netherlands

(credit: CBS) Ukee Washington
Ukee Washington anchors Eyewitness News This Morning on CBS 3 and...
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By Ukee Washington

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – When a little girl from the Netherlands needed treatment at Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, her family knew they had a long road ahead, but they never expected so much help from people in their new neighborhood.

You can’t slow down Bo Jansen. Wearing polka-dot braces, the 7-year-old keeps up with her brother and sister in a game of kickball.

“She cannot wait to show off for her friends in the Netherlands what she can do now,” said Remco Jansen, Bo’s father.

Bo has a rare muscle disorder called arthrogryposis multiplex congenita. This time last year, Bo couldn’t walk. Then Bo’s mother Nancy met Dr. Harold Van Bosse from Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia.

“And he saw Bo, and he said, ‘Yep, she will be able to walk. I can help her,'” she said. “So I let him repeat that three times before I believed him.”

But getting treatment required moving the family from their home in Amsterdam to the United States for at least six months. A friend of the Jansens sent an email to a relative in America explaining Bo’s story. The email reached dozens of people 3,700 miles away, including Dave Berson of Jenkintown.

“My daughter was born with some issues, so I kind of know what that’s like,” said Berson. “I really wanted to just help.”

Dave scouted rental houses and found one in Jenkintown. He also organized donations of beds, furniture and supplies the family would need. A team of people helped recommend schools and family outings.

“We came here, everything was ready. It was just amazing,” said Nancy Jansen.

Bo’s operation and treatment at Shriner’s fulfilled her parents’ dreams. The Jansens are heading back home, but they’ll always have family in the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection.

“Definitely a very big thanks, and I think I made some really good friends here for the years to come,” said Remco Jansen.

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