As many of you know, our daughter Maggie survived a stroke that occurred shortly before she was born in September of 2011. She was diagnosed with left-sided hemiplegia, which is a form of cerebral palsy.
Maggie loves to count and to cuddle and the person she admires most is Dora the Explorer. The person we admire most is Maggie.
For two years Maggie has had physical and occupational therapy. She has fought with tremendous strength and conviction to overcome her muscle weakness. She learned to walk shortly before her second birthday and has even learned to use her left hand for limited tasks. She was significantly delayed in speaking, but now tests above her age and even has been labeled advanced in terms of intelligence.
Despite her progress, the spasticity in her foot and ankle has caused her to physically deteriorate. She has developed a joint contracture in her foot and her toes are now paralyzed. She wears a large leg brace on her left foot and a smaller brace on her right. She falls frequently and cannot run, jump or pedal her tricycle. (She still tells everything she meets, and firmly believes, that she is a ballerina, however.) Her calf muscles in her left leg are also withering because of the brace.
We were told she would wear her leg brace for the rest of her life.
This past winter, however, we learned of a world-renowned surgeon in St. Louis who has perfected a surgery called selective dorsal rhizotomy. A surgery that has changed the lives of nearly 3,000 children with cerebral palsy by freeing them from spasticity in their legs and feet.
We brought Maggie to St. Louis last May and were thrilled to hear she would be a candidate for the procedure. The surgeon, Dr. T.S. Park, will make a small incision in Maggie’s spine and cut the nerves that are misfiring and causing the spasticity in her legs.
We believe this surgery will dramatically change Maggie’s quality of life. This is her only chance at eliminating the need for her large leg brace. She may even be able to compete in regular sports (or ballet!) down the road. This surgery will offset inevitable surgeries that she will need if her condition continues to decline.
Her recovery will be long and difficult and she will undergo physical therapy five days a week. Slowly, though, the muscles that have been held hostage by the spasticity will strengthen and we expect to see great progress over a period of months and years.
For months, we have fought with our doctors in the Chicago medical community, and our health insurance company to win Maggie the right to have this procedure. After we launched an appeal to our initial rejection, we learned in June that we won our bid for approval from our HMO. However, our out-of-pocket costs are still considerable.
This is why we are turning to you for help.
We leave for St. Louis next week and Maggie will have surgery Aug. 14. She will remain hospitalized for one week and then we return home to begin outpatient rehab.
Any donation to help us offset the costs of Maggie’s surgery would be greatly appreciated. But please do not feel obligated to donate. Your prayers and good wishes for Maggie would mean so much to us too.
DonationsSee top donations
- Tina Sfondeles
- Mitch Dudek
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
Expert advice, 24/7
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more