We had the good fortune to be able to personally deliver the therapy gifts from Holton's Heroes to Giada, an 8-year-old brain injury survivor who proves every day that statistics don't always predict the outcome.
Talking with this sweet girl in her living room and watching her face light up from all the stuff our donors allowed us to provide was inspirational to say the least. You'd have no idea Giada's precious life almost came to an end soon after it started.
"Giada's biological father, who was my fiancé at the time, was home alone with her while I was at work," Elizabeth wrote to us. "I got a call from him that he was in an ambulance [on the way] to the ER. When I got to the hospital my baby was unconscious with a brain bleed from a skull fracture, her head severely swollen and anytime she would wake up she would start having seizures again."
It was a grim scene and doctors had already called Child Protective Services before Elizabeth arrived. Giada's father was arrested and placed in jail, but ultimately charges were dropped as the state felt there wasn't enough evidence to convict. This outcome was another devastating blow for Elizabeth and her daughter, who were just in the beginning stages of a lifelong recovery.
"Our world was completely turned upside down and I've been picking up the pieces ever since," Elizabeth told us. "It's been seven and a half years of non-stop therapy for her. She's come a very long way, as she did not walk until she was 3 years old and didn't talk until she was 4."
Today, Giada is a tall, beautiful, kind little girl who attends school and lives a pretty great life with her mom. Giada still requires intensive therapy and has significant learning disabilities that have kept her back in the first grade. To help with her school endeavors, Holton's Heroes was able to provide Giada with two therapy vests, a weighted blanket, and some other school supplies like special pencil grips, portable work areas and weighted lap pads (see pics below) that her mom hopes will help her move forward scholastically. The theory behind the compression therapy vests and weighted blanket HH purchased is that it helps keep children like Giada feel more secure and comfortable in their surroundings, which hopefully allows them to concentrate better at the task at hand.
While standing in the home of Elizabeth and her incredible daughter Giada, Elizabeth told us something that put things in perspective. She let us know that she originally felt shy about asking Holton's Heroes for help because her daughter "was doing so well now." We told her that was even more reason to reach out to us.
Any chance to show that successful recovery from a brain injury is attainable through hard work, therapy, and patience is a great moment for this community. So today, and every day, we shine a light on this amazing mother and daughter, who serve as an inspiration to all of us.