Former gymnast with rare disease gets a special surprise


CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46) — FOX 46 Charlotte is getting results for a teenage girl who was diagnosed with a disease that doesn’t allow her to walk up and down the stairs. 

Photojournalist Brian Christiansen and Jenna Caiazzo heard about this young girl and knew they needed to do more than just report on her issue. 

Jaime Woodell used to be a gymnast until about age 8 when she was riddled with a rare disease that changed her life forever.

“I just didn’t feel right, I knew something wasn’t right…it was different,” Jaime said. 

“She had constant pain, her leg turned purple,” Jaime’s family explained. 

Jaime and her family visited a number of doctors and did research on their own. Turns out, she suffered from complex regional pain syndrome — chronic arm and leg pain that develops after an injury, surgery, stroke or heart attack.

“She can’t stand the feeling of wind on her skin, so we don’t drive with the windows down, there are certain clothes she can’t wear cause it hurts,” Jamie’s family said. 

One thing Jaime can’t do is go up and down the stairs at her house. This means, she can’t even go in her room which is on the second floor.

“I have to help her get up the stairs, or her father has given her piggy back rides up the stairs,” Jaime’s mom said. 

”I know I have a room, but it’s hard to get to it,” Jaime explained. 

So FOX 46 Charlotte stepped in to help get results for Jaime and her family. After photojournalist Brian Christiansen saw the family’s plea on GoFundMe — an attempt to raise money for a stair lift that would help Jaime get up and down the stairs. 

”It was a while before we were able to get a donation, and I kept thinking, this is going to cost too much.”

So Brian and FOX 46 Charlotte reached out to local stair lift companies hoping to get a quote for how much it would be to install a chair lift in their home. But instead of quoting the family, they offered to install the chair for free – getting results for Jaime and her family.

”Once they found out, the cause and the reason why, they were there to jump right in it, hands on. And donate this lift right to her.”

In less than two hours, Acorn Stair Lift, installed the chair and the lift, so Jaime can get up and down without being in pain. A small sacrifice that is getting results for a young girl in need. 

”Excited to have my freedom back, and privacy, and sleep in my own bed, and live my life like a normal teenager.”

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