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WEST CHESTER, Pa. (CBS) – A West Chester family ended up helping strangers on the other side of the world with a medical need during their summer vacation. The two strangers both have cerebral palsy and now they’ve formed an unlikely friendship with an incredible act of generosity.

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Anna Harootunian, 14, has cerebral palsy and depends on a walker to get around. Not much stops the happy eighth-grader, who even enjoyed a family vacation on a cruise this summer.

(credit: CBS3)

“We felt connected to him right away,” said Anna.

During the trip, the family bonded with a waiter named Mark from the Philippines, who also has a son with cerebral palsy.

“For him to be able to see Anna use the walker, he said they don’t have anything like that in the Philippines,” said Susan Harootunian, Anna’s mother. “I can’t imagine not being able to help your child.”

Mark’s 7-year-old son, Lucas, struggles without the support he needs.

“I was just, like, I got to help this kid because I could have been in his shoes,” said Anna.

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(credit: CBS3)


“We were like, wow, we have the opportunity to give him this walker,” said Harootunian.

The West Chester family says it was meant to be. Anna had some extra equipment, so they gave Mark her walker and wheelchair to take home to his little boy.

“It feels great,” explained Anna. “I feel like he’s going to be on the right track to getting help, the resources he needs.”

The two families stay in touch and it turns out Lucas has never seen a specialist or had the kind of interventions that have allowed Anna to be so independent. The Harootunian family started a GoFundMe page for Lucas.

The Harootunian family is full of heart and humanity, helping a little boy who’s getting an early lesson on the kindness of strangers.

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Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that affects movement. In addition to her equipment and therapy, Anna has also had several surgeries – standard treatments that Lucas hasn’t had.