Drive-by celebrations of some sort have become fairly common in the age of COVID-19, but one held last Sunday in Soap Lake was a special kind of special.
As Olekzander Lopez turned 5 years old May 31, it also marked five years since doctors told his mother he would never be able to move his legs, much less walk.
But there stood Olekzander, beaming and waving.
He was especially excited because leading procession by his Lakeview house were Soap Lake Police Officer Trevor Jones and Grant County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason McDonnell.
It’s Olekzander’s dream to be a police officer someday, his mom explained.
Olekzander was born with Caudal Regression Syndrome, a rare congenital birth disorder in which the lower spine doesn’t fully form.
His entire young life has been about overcoming obstacles and beating the odds.
When he was just four days old, Olekzander underwent heart surgery. He’s missing the sacrum bone above his tailbone, in addition to his shortened spinal cord.
He scooted to get around until he began walking at age 3½, said his mom, Emma Lopez.
Emma had approached the law enforcement agencies, asking if there was something they could do for Olekzander’s birthday.
It was the deputy and police officer’s privilege to help celebrate, the Soap Lake Police Department said.
“My heart melted when I saw his excitement … the police car leading the people driving by and when everyone was wishing him happy birthday,” Emma said. “
Included in the well-wishers was Krystal Merriel, who will be Olekzander’s special education teacher when he starts kindergarten this fall. They promised to get together before the school year starts.
Olekzander also received his own police shirt, made by Angie Galloway of Angie’s Vinyl Designs in Moses Lake.
Emma said the people of Soap Lake have been “amazing,”
“I can’t thank them enough,” she said.