As a parent, there is nothing quite like watching your child be successful. For parents Josephine and Enrico, this was a regular occurrence when dealing with their daughter Julia. One of four children, this vibrant 12-year-old excelled at all facets of her life whether it was in her school, her church, or the playing field. Earlier this year, however, life took an abrupt change.
What began as abdominal pain on a regular spring day turned into a summer full of visits to emergency rooms, doctors, and specialists of every kind with the same results – an undiagnosed condition. Some medical professional even suggested that the fevers, back and neck pain, rashes, hair loss, decreased mental status, twitching, and slurred speech were conditions that were “all in her head.”
Today, Julia is in a wheelchair – all sensation in her legs lost – due to what has been diagnosed as a combination of Lyme’s disease and Guillain-Barre syndrome. However, due to the rarity of the condition, her family’s insurance will not cover most of the necessary treatment and physical therapy – treatments such as daily medicines costing around $250 to $400 and surgeries costing between $5,000 to $8,000. These costs are now being paid out of the family’s savings. Julia is also on various supplements to help her body tolerate the meds, detoxify her and protect her and are at a current cost of over $500.00 a month. This has also been a logistical nightmare, with a special organic, paleo diet, which is very expensive to maintain, separating Julia from her mom and siblings to relocate to a family home in Catskill, NY, and deal with all the expenses of running a second home, plus deal with an hour commute to Albany every day. They are a family of six now living on only one salary.
Father Enrico has had to leave his job as a Respiratory Therapist in order to care for his daughter, and the expenses continue to mount. In the meantime, Julia remains an upbeat pre-teen. She is unable to be at school or even be homeschooled as the strain on her brain becomes too challenging after a prolonged period of time. Still, Julia remains a presence at her school. Recently, her schoolmates gathered to form a huge J to photograph themselves in honor of their friend. Here’s a way for you to get in the J with them.
Your donation can help us share a bit of happiness, hope, and comfort in the lives of Julia and families like hers. Please consider a donation to Five Fathers Children’s Charity.