Monday, March 15, 2010

Abby's Story

Age 5
Multiple Birth Defects

Kentucky Children's Hospital

Everything about 5-year-old Abby radiates joy. She's so happy that on the rare occasions when she's not smiling, it's clear something is wrong. Her parents have to rely on physical clues like these, because Abby cannot communicate verbally.

Before Abby was born, doctors discovered heart and stomach defects. Immediately after birth, Abby was transported to Kentucky Children's Hospital for the first of 25 developmental surgeries in just two years. It wasn't until Abby was 40 days old that she was diagnosed with CHARGE syndrome.

CHARGE stands for Coloboma of the eye, Heart defects, Atresia of the choanae, Retardation of growth and/or development, Genital and/or urinary abnormalities, and ear abnormalities and deafness. Because of these birth defects, Abby has hearing and vision loss, balance issues, swallowing and breathing problems, and other developmental challenges.

But Abby has no idea how different she is compared to other children. She walks right up to anyone, with a little help, with that same aura of happiness. She's learning sign language and communicates with such personality you can't help but take notice. She encompasses multiple strengths in her tiny body. With all her positivity, there's no doubt she'll keep cheerfully conquering obstacles.

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