Providence franchisee, Pawtucket youth join for cause

Al Coelho and Christina Bird team up in Children's Hospital Patient Partner program

March 01, 2011 // Franchising.com // PROVIDENCE, R.I. – For Providence ColorTyme partner Al Coelho, going the extra mile for local families is part of his everyday routine. On April 18, Coelho will dedicate 26 miles to one special family by running the Boston Marathon in recognition of Christina Bird, daughter of the Pawtucket ColorTyme owner and longtime patient at Children's Hospital Boston.

Since the first two years of Christina's life, Children's Hospital Boston has played a huge role in her care. As a child, she was diagnosed with cortical blindness, cerebral palsy and microcephaly with chronic ear infections and seizures. Through the years, she had several tests performed at the hospital and has seen neurologists, gastroenterologists, orthopediatrics, as well as specialists in other areas. Today, 16-year-old Christina is bound to a wheel chair and has a G-tube for feeding and taking medication as needed.

"I thought I knew all about hardship after losing a daughter at childbirth. I thought I knew about mental toughness and perseverance after my first Boston Marathon race. I thought I knew a lot of things…until I got to know Christina Bird," said Coelho. "Christina will never walk out of her wheelchair, but in April, her spirit will push me across the finish line to once again raise money for Children's Hospital Boston."

Christina's father, Joe Bird, is a close friend of Coelho's and has known him since 2003.

"Al is doing an amazing thing, and I feel very grateful that the funds will be raised with my daughter's name attached to the cause," said Joe Bird. "There are so many families that depend on the support and extra care that Children's Hospital Boston provides."

He continued by saying, "The pain that parents go through in dealing with the health of their child is eased by the outstanding support, service and care received at this hospital. For example, there's an entire section of the hospital designated for parents to stay in private rooms overnight, so they can be close by while their child is in recovery. The doctors and staff at Children's Hospital Boston understand how difficult this kind of situation is, and they do everything they can to accommodate families and make the stay more comfortable."

On Feb. 4, 2011, Christina underwent her most recent surgery, a 12-hour procedure for scoliosis that kept her hospitalized for two weeks. She will need three to six months of rehabilitation, which will be done in a pediatric facility with more follow-up visits to Children's Hospital Boston.

"Despite ongoing surgeries and procedures, Christina always finds a way to smile," said Coelho. "She endures her conditions with amazing strength and grace, and I feel absolutely honored to be racing for her and her family." Coelho is more than $15,000 away from his goal to raise $25,000. To support his cause and donate to Children's Hospital Boston, please visit https://howtohelp.childrenshospital.org/bostonmarathon/pfp/Default.asp?ProfileID=CA0102.

About ColorTyme

ColorTyme, Inc., founded in 1979, is America's oldest franchisor of independently owned-and-operated rent-to-own stores. ColorTyme franchisees operate 191 rent-to-own stores in 33 states, and the company's custom-wheels-and-tires franchise brand, RimTyme, operates 21 stores in 12 states. ColorTyme is headquartered in Plano, Texas, and is an independent, wholly owned subsidiary of the largest RTO company in the world, Rent-A-Center (NASDAQ: RCII).

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