For Mihaela King, organizing a benefit concert to raise the funds needed for her son’s cerebral palsy treatment went without question, since she had been playing violin since first grade.
Born in communist Romania, Mihaela came to the United States with her family as political refugees in 1989 and lived in Los Angeles.
Mihaela’s love for playing violin grew as she did. She began teaching at 17, and continued studying through college. Her passion took her around the world, playing solo and orchestrated concerts throughout Europe with the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, Ballet West Orchestra and the Jupiter Symphony.
She moved to Valencia in 2010, after marrying her husband, Sterling King.
Sterling, who has lived in the Santa Clarita Valley for more than 30 years, owns his own pest control company, Spectrum Environmental Pest Control.
Now, when Mihaela isn’t teaching violin with private lessons, she and Sterling are heavily involved in their church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and raise four children: Lincoln, 7; Alden, 3; and twins, Caroline and Abram, who are 18 months old.
A little over a year after the birth of their twins, Mihaela and Sterling were given the news that Abram was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
“I had a difficult pregnancy and was bedridden for most of it,” said Mihaela. Her twins were born two months premature, at 32 weeks.
Abram was born first, and suffered complications after his lung collapsed.
“Code white,” was what Sterling heard the nurses immediately say, and he knew something was wrong. Code white meant the baby was not breathing.
“I was terrified,” said Mihaela. “I was still birthing Caroline and all I can hear was Sterling saying ‘Is he breathing? Are you going to save the baby?’ and he was eventually escorted out because he was so worried.”
After leaving the room, Sterling said he sat at a nurses’ station alone, thinking this was supposed to be a perfect delivery, and remembers feeling a sense of helplessness.
“We were prepared for two babies,” Sterling said.
After nurses worked on Abram, he started breathing a few minutes later.
“(Caroline) was born and he was breathing, so I relaxed and thought, ‘OK, we did it. We’re safe,’” said Mihaela.
Because they were born premature, Caroline spent three weeks in a neonatal intensive care unit while Abram had to stay a little longer, five weeks in total, due to the complications.
Once the twins came home, the Kings began their life together as a family of six. A few months after, Mihaela and Sterling began noticing Abram wasn’t reaching the same milestones as his sister, Caroline.
“They were preemies, so we thought he’d get there but then seven months passed, then eight months, then nine months,” said Mihaela.
Mihaela described herself as the type to fix a problem as soon as it arises, so she took Abram to the doctor right away. After numerous examinations, Abram was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a motor disability caused by abnormal brain development, which affects a person’s ability to control muscles.
“At the time I didn’t think any long-term damage could happen,” said Mihaela. She said Abram still has a bright and bubbly personality. “He just wants to kiss you all the time!”
Sterling said he remembers having a sense of relief. Now that he and Mihaela know what was inhibiting Abram’s development, they could take the steps necessary to treat him.
After doing research, Mihaela and Sterling discovered the Neurological and Physical Abilitation (NAPA) center in Los Angeles. The center focuses on intensive physical therapy programs for children, offering a three-week program that has shown positive results in children with physical disadvantages.
The treatment will help Abram balance his weight throughout his body and improve posture to help him reach developmental milestones.
Mihaela and Sterling thought this could be a great benefit for Abram, but the cost of the treatment was worrisome. Since it is an intensive therapy program, it is not covered under Mihaela and Sterling’s health insurance.
“I didn’t want to just ask for money, so I thought it would be great to have a concert,” said Mihaela.
After much planning, a benefit concert will take place at the Newhall Family Theater for the Performing Arts on Feb. 1 at 6 p.m.
The first half of the concert will feature classical songs played by the SCV Orchestra, solo performers and chamber groups.
The second half will feature famous compositions from movies, such as “Les Miserables,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “The Sound of Music” and more.
Brad Keimach, a Juilliard alumni, will be conducting the performances.
“We have 20 of my musician friends traveling in from across the country to be here for this,” said Mihaela.
The concert is for people ages 8 and up. Suggested donations are $20 for presale, $30 at the door and $50 for preferred seating. A reception will take place before and a silent auction will follow the concert.
Suggested donations can be sent to Mihaela’s Venmo account @Mihaela-King along with email or cell phone number to receive tickets.
“We’re indebted to those that have been helping (Abram) have the chance to get the therapy and help him grow,” said Sterling. “In 20 years when he has his own life and is able to do his own things, we’re going to know it’s because of that help.”
To donate to Abram’s GoFundMe page, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/4xaec-abram.