(Mikaylah at Smale Park helping at a session, wearing a HTPD shirt she was given for volunteering at a local event at the police booth)
Hi, my name is April Sova. I am a wife, a mother of 3 and a small business owner in downtown Maineville, Ohio. My oldest child, Mikaylah, is 16 years old. She is a sophomore at a local catholic high school in Cincinnati. Mikaylah is a vibrant, compassionate and helpful spirit. Mikaylah loves to swim on the MND swim team. She loves to teach children to swim at her after school job at a local pool. She loves being a part of the Moeller/MND marching band family. Mikaylah is always giving of herself to others through experiences such as mission trips at school, St. Vincent de Paul fundraisers and trips, and heading up 2 clubs at MND: Stop the Traffic and the Health and Wellness club. For Mikaylah’s sweet 16 she capitalized her party to become a food and money drive to donate to St. Vincent DePaul. Here is a link to that event. Even as a small child, Mikaylah has always gravitated towards those who were in need naturally. It is simply who she is.
(Mikaylah's donation table at her Sweet 16 party)
(Mikaylah and I pushing the donations into SVDP in downtown Cincinnati)
Over the years, Mikaylah has been a clumsy child. Many bumps, bruises, sprains, strains and even 2 surgeries for a broken bone. We were told in preschool never to let her wear anything but tennis shoes because she was an accident waiting to happen. Mikaylah has always been naturally flexible and able to do many things with her body that most can’t (like folding up in a pretzel on command).
In the past year Mikaylah has gone from a very active young woman to being sidelined in the activities she loves, now onto crutches unable to walk normally without pain. Mikaylah was diagnosed with bilateral hip dysplasia and hypermobility Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which is a genetic connective tissue disease. What started out as a quest to figure out why our daughter kept repeatedly getting sick, has turned into seeing multiple specialists and now she has a medical team just to manage her health.
(Mikaylah in a boot while on vacation a few years ago)
Yesterday, October 3rd, we finally received word that Mikaylah’s hips are in even worse shape than what we initially were told. Mikaylah will need a Periacetabular Osteotomy on both hips, but only doing one at a time. Her right hip is the worst one and will be done first. The surgeon suspects she has a labral tear in the right hip which will need to be fixed. She also has rotation in the femur which means they will have to break her leg and reset it to correct the entire issue to allow her to walk again without pain. Because of how bad the situation is along with Mikaylah’s pain, she is scheduled for surgery in less than 2 weeks. We knew surgery was imminent, but figured we would have a few months to plan for it. However, that is not the case.
(Mikaylah at the genetic clinic downtown)
The timing on this surgery is not at all ideal. Mikaylah is supposed to be in school, enjoying her sophomore year; worrying about dances and who is going to win the football game on Friday. Instead Mikaylah is looking at missing a few months of school, being on crutches long term and lots of physical therapy. She also has had to give notice at her job that she loves (teaching little kids how to swim) and cannot competitively swim this school year. Oh, and the impending doom of needing the second hip done in the next year or two tops, repeating this same process.
(Mikaylah at a swim meet last school year)
The timing as well from a family perspective is not great at all. You see, I have been self employed for 8 years. In July I closed my main business to go back to work and to focus on my photography studio. Financially it was a huge risk as I took a very large pay cut to be able to have a better work-life balance. I am grateful for my ability to have less responsibility now to be able to go to her appointment’s and be present as her mom, but financially we did not expect the many thousands we are now looking at in major medical bills.
(Mikaylah and our dog, Berens, last year on vacation)
To add insult to injury, I myself am in need of a major surgery. Just before Mikaylah’s appointment I was contacted to schedule my surgery for this month. Sadly, my own surgery is being postponed now until she is through this first hip surgery as we both cannot be down for the count at the same time. My own recover time will be a good 6 weeks without the ability to lift anything or work. I cannot be a mom to Mikaylah during her trying time while allowing myself the time needed to heal. I will have to wait.
(Mikaylah, her dad and younger siblings getting ready to ice skate a few years ago)
If you have read this right, yes this means that our family is anticipating the care, recovery and financial hardship of not one, not two, but THREE major surgeries. Between time off from work to care for or be the patient and recover, the deductibles, the cost of MRI’s and CAT scan, the out of pocket for travel costs to see Mikaylah’s surgeon 2 hours one way, the out of pocket expense for rental medical equipment and a hip brace and any other expenses that we all know are going to pop up along this journey. Let’s not forget the deductibles reset in less than 3 months which means the timing couldn’t be worse. We can see very clearly we are about to drown ourselves in medical bills.
(Mikaylah and her flute teacher performing a few years ago)
It is very humbling to be in this position; to recognize you need help, but having it hurt to even ask. No one owes us anything and we don’t deserve preferential treatment. However, we need assistance from our community. We know this ship is sinking. It is imminent. We cannot keep up on this alone. The medical bills from all 3 procedures is going to cause a multitude of financial challenges we may not be able to handle alone. We are asking for your help.
(Mikaylah at her confirmation)
If you are able to give, I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart and soul. Even a dollar will help lessen the stress this is going to and will cause for us. If you are skeptical of giving online – I get it! I am one that likes to be more involved myself and help beyond a monetary donation whenever I can. Anyone who knows me know my passion for helping others is exactly where Mikaylah gets her passion from!
(Mikaylah and her friends in the Moeller/MND Marching Band Color Guard)
Even without making a donation, you can still help and here is how: Hire me to photograph your next family portraits, for your high school seniors portraits, for your daughter and soon-to-be son-in-law’s engagement session and their upcoming wedding. Refer me to your local friends and family in hopes my calendar becomes so full of appointments that we can overcome this tidal wave we are about to take on. My website is www.rememberwhenportraits.com Check it out, share it, post about it, book online with me, find my studio on Facebook and Instagram and follow/like us. This is how you can help me to help Mikaylah.
(Mikaylah in her swim gear last season - yes this photo is taken in my studio)
Mikaylah deserves to walk without pain. She deserves to be able to swim again and to twirl her flag and rifle without fear of dislocation or pain. We need her to get back to Liberty, KY on mission trips with her school and we need her to be able to be well enough to be at band camp next summer. Now is her time to get better, get stronger, work hard and not have to worry about the adult matters that come in the mail. Please help us to manage the cost that sadly will be coming our way in order for us to help her walk again without pain.
(Mikaylah and her younger siblings on vacation)
(Mikaylah on a mission trip with her school in Liberty, KY)
(Mikaylah at the Urban Plunge at SVDP downtown over the summer)
Troy and I cannot thank you enough for the prayers, support and love you have and continue to bless Mikaylah and our family with. We are grounding ourselves in our faith as we hunker down to travel this journey. Mikaylah will be anointed early next week and I will be completing eucharistic minister training to assure she is spiritually fed while recovering. Saint Raphael the Archangel and Saint Luke the Evangelist, Pray for Us!
April (& Troy) Sova
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