It has been two months since Abby received stem cell therapy and we have seen some gains that we would like to share with all of Abby’s Angel’s. Since returning home from Panama, Abby has been more affectionate. Abby now enjoys snuggling with us on a couch or in bed while watching television. Abby will randomly walk up to us and give a hug and on occasion when we lean in for the hug, she will give a kiss. Abby’s eye contact is improving. When engaged in an activity, Abby will look at us to see if we are watching her and seeks out praise when accomplishing a task.
Abby has hypotonia (low tone core muscle) which causes physical activities to be exhausting and difficult for her to participate at times. Since receiving stem cells, Abby’s physical abilities have improved. For instance, she would always lay on her back or stomach while going down a slide, and now sits properly upright while going down a slide. Cognitively, Abby has been mastering puzzles, grasping concepts such as pretend play, mimicking and role playing. Abby pretends to pour and sip from a tea cup, will tap on a bongo after watching us do it and grab popcorn from the bowl and put it in our mouth during family movie nights.
When Abby regressed at 18 months old and slipped into autism; her biggest challenge has been speech. Three weeks after returning home from Panama, Abby identified and enunciated letters. Abby is also identifying body parts and will attempt to perform the “head, shoulder, knees and toes” song. Abby is also beginning to count numbers out loud more frequently. The majority of Abby’s vocalization is babbling BUT she is more eager to sounding out words. Abby is currently enrolled in summer programs at her school as well as a summer day camp and comes home every day with a positive progress report. The reports from Abby’s teachers and camp counselors have indicated that she has been following one step instructions, participates in all activities, and enjoys playing with fellow classmates.
As Abby slowly improves, the stem cells will eventually die off, typically within 6-8 months from treatment. Abby still has a long road of healing ahead of her and multiple stem cell treatments are predicted at this point. We have decided to keep Abby’s GoFundMe account active to raise funds for a second treatment toward the end of this year.
We have attached a few photos and videos of Abby since receiving stem cell therapy. The photos and videos are a direct result of your donations and shared stories to Abby’s Journey. Words can't express how appreciative we are for all of Abby's Angel's supporting and "winging" it with us during these times of hope for continued progress.
Love to all!
***END OF UPDATE***
Hi, this is our daughter Abigail V. Rimovsky but we call her Abby and she will be 3 years old this April. My name is Sue Rimovsky, my husband is Justin Rimovsky and we're the proud parents of our little autistic angel, Abby. She has a younger sister Adalynn, who was born ten months after her. Adalynn was born three months premature and spent her first couple months of life in a neonatal intensive care unit. We were strained with watching Adalynn battle life threatening conditions due to my placenta being infected with chorioamnionitis. Adalynn ultimately battled the challenges she faced at birth and won. Today, Adalynn is a healthy growing girl who will turn 2 years old this February. Little did we know, Abby would be faced to battle challenges far more difficult than her sister.
When Abby turned 15 months old we began to see significant changes in her with continuous regression. Abby stopped talking the few single words she would say. Abby stopped making eye contact and started exhibiting abnormal behaviors. Abby lost interest in learning, pretend play, trying new foods and interacting with her sister and others. I knew at this time something was wrong with Abby and feared she was drifting off into her own isolated world. Abby began receiving seven therapy sessions a week at the age of 18 months: speech therapy (x2), occupational therapy (x2), developmental therapy, physical therapy, behavioral therapy and nutritional therapy and she continues these therapies today. This past December, Abby was diagnosed with autism. It broke our hearts to hear "she's autistic" but we suspected the verdict and mentally prepared ourselves for the official diagnosis. As of today, Abby is non-verbal, struggles with eye contact and comprehension. Abby cannot follow one step instructions and does not respond to her name. But with all that being said, Abby is what you see in the photos. She is a happy loving girl with a smile that will steal your heart. Abby loves music, watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, swimming in pools, spending time at splash pads and water parks, jumping on trampolines...but she is trapped in her own mind and uncomfortable in her own body.
When my husband comes home from work and he walks through the door, Adalynn will jump up say "dada" and run to him with a greeting hug and kiss but Abby does not acknowledge him and does not greet him. I know it breaks my husband's heart every single day he comes home and to not have Abby jump into his arms with excitement to see her father. I live for the day to hear my Abby speak...to tell me "I love you mama". I dream for the day that Abby recognizes that she has a sister that shares the same age as her for two months out of the year and wants to be her best friend for life.
There is a treatment that has made significant improvements in children who have been diagnosed with autism but it is not available in the United States. This therapy is called stem cell therapy and is offered at the Stem Cell Institute in Panama. The stem cells come from human umbilical cords donated by mothers after normal healthy births and are given to the child through an IV infusion. In some cases there have been minimal gains and in other cases there have been significant gains. Our daughter is almost 3 years old and the sooner she receives the treatment the more likely it will be successful as she is still developing mentally.
We are just a typical middle class family; my husband is a police officer in a south suburb of Chicago and I work part-time as an educational coordinator. The cost of one treatment is $20k and Abby may need more than one treatment. Due to the treatment being out of country, health insurance will not cover the cost. The costs of this treatment is beyond what we can afford but we will do everything we can to get her this treatment. Stem cell therapy is not a cure but I truly believe that the therapy will work to offer Abby a fair and functional quality of life.
Your donation will contribute to Abby on her journey to the Stem Cell Institute in Panama and her journey to comfort. My husband and I appreciate the time you spent to read Abby's story and we are beyond thankful to donations made to "Abby's Journey".
- Michael Romano
- Joseph Marks
- Brandon Jokinen
- Terry and Linda Edwards
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