Round Rock restaurant owner closing business in hopes to help son battling rare incurable disease
A Round Rock restaurant is being forced to shut its doors, but it's not because of lack of profits. The owner said he’s fighting to give his son a second chance at life. Chino's Burrito will be closed permanently this weekend.
A fighter is how Wei Zheng would describe his 5-year-old son Michael. When Michael was a baby he was diagnosed with Pelizaeus-Merzbacher Disease, or PMD, a rare genetic neurological disorder with no cure. “He started getting seizures, he wasn't able to eat, his movement he wasn't using any of his movements. You're missing a cell that creates a coating on the nerve system, without the coating it doesn't create the muscle and the strength on his body,” Zheng said.
Michael was only expected to live at most, a couple of years. When he was just about a year and a half old, he spent 45 days in the ICU. “Doctors say this is going to be the last time for your son,” Zhen said. They removed his breathing tube, “All the family was there in the room, and we pulled it out, and he was awake.” But Michael never stopped breathing. “Everyone was expecting he was leaving that day but he made it, we've had another four years already,” Zheng said.
Now four years later, Wei said they finally got the phone call they've been waiting so long for from doctors at Duke University. Specialists have agreed to do an evaluation for Michael for possible treatment. A treatment doctors said is not a cure, but could possibly prolong his life. But doctors have already said they are unsure. “They are doubting about him going through the chemo, that's the harder part right now, they don't know if he will make it through the chemo,” Zheng said it’s a risk they are willing to take. “I've been taking risks since forever, when we knew he was having the disease,” he said.
But taking the risk for Michael shuts down the lifelong dream of Wei. “Restaurant was my dream, actually is my dream.” Nearly four years ago, he started his own restaurant Chino's Burrito. He said the first two years were hard, but the 3rd year improved, the year he has to pull out of the restaurant business. “Well actual this final year is getting better because more people are moving into the community.”
For now, Zheng said Michael is the family's priority. “One has to stay home and pay the bills, and she's the one that makes the money a month, she has to stay. I just put it on hold, my dream,” he said.
Wei said he has to close the restaurant because of the financial burden, taking care of Michael, and having to leave town. The only way to stay open would be a less expensive location, or to get a major cash donation. Loyal customers reached out to Fox 7 to tell their story, because they wanted to help.
If you would like to donate to Wei and his family, click here.