My name is Domi­nika and I’m Oli­wia’s mother. My dau­gh­ter is a brave young girl who wasn’t sup­po­sed to survive yet con­ti­nues to show eve­ry­one other­wise. She has a dis­fi­gu­red body but a bri­ght mind. I do eve­ry­thing I can so that every day is a beau­ti­ful one for my dau­gh­ter and I’m lear­ning that she can over­come every obstacle. Unfor­tu­na­tely, her health is her gre­atest obstacle, which she is una­ble to over­come by her­self...

Every year on the 1st of April I am remin­ded of the events leading up to Oli­wia’s birth. I Was in my 33rd week of pre­gnancy. I can still cle­arly hear the words of my doctor „Your dau­gh­ter has exten­sive spina bifida. ” I was told to pre­pare for my chil­d’s death. Instead, 3 weeks later on her bir­th­day Oli­wia reve­aled what she has been sho­wing us ever since — in no way does she want to die. Kypho­sco­lio­sis, hydro­ce­pha­lus and an under­de­ve­lo­ped sacrum and lower lum­bar ver­te­brae led to defects of her pelvis, ribs, and spine. I knew my dau­gh­ter would spend her life in a whe­el­chair. I also knew that I would do eve­ry­thing possi­ble so that she would­n’t miss any­thing and could lead a life much like her friends. My goal has always been for her to be as inde­pen­dent as possi­ble.

Oli­wia is able to do eve­ry­thing — she attends school, plays basket­ball, dan­ces, goes for walks, climbs, and even rides on a spe­cial bicycle. Unfor­tu­na­tely, even tho­ugh I teach her that nothing is impos­si­ble for her, there is an obstacle which we can’t over­come. The con­di­tion and curva­ture of her spine is deplo­ra­ble and get­ting worse each day. It’s also incre­di­bly pain­ful for her!

We’ve never had a case like Oli­wia. We can’t help her — dif­fe­rent doctors would respond, visi­bly distur­bed by what they had seen. I sear­ched for help and did­n’t give up. Then I met Dr. Feld­man, a world-renow­ned ortho­pe­dic sur­geon who gave Oli­wia a chance by agre­eing to treat her! I knew that the healing pro­cess would be com­pli­ca­ted and unfor­tu­na­tely very expen­sive, so we did eve­ry­thing we could to delay that moment. We fought the curva­ture with inten­sive phy­sio­the­rapy but we are now at a place where sur­gery is neces­sary.

At our last visit Dr. Feld­man admit­ted that the spi­nal curva­ture is get­ting worse. He pra­ised Oli­wia for being so capa­ble, smart, and inde­pen­dent but unfor­tu­na­tely told her that we can’t wait much lon­ger. It is get­ting har­der for Oli­wia to sit and move in her whe­el­chair. Sle­eping and lying down are beco­ming more dif­fi­cult. If her spine doesn’t stop pro­gres­sing her organs will be slowly com­pres­sed. We need to act now!

Tre­at­ment will take place in 3 sta­ges. The first sur­gery will be in Poland at the Paley Euro­pean Insti­tute and is aimed at remo­ving the cause of her spi­nal curva­ture and set­ting her legs in one axis so that they grow stra­ight. The second sur­gery will put in place inter­nal expan­ders, and the final and most impor­tant sur­gery in Ame­rica will address sco­lio­sis and spi­nal fusion.

Oli­wia is strong, coura­ge­ous and has an unstop­pa­ble desire to live but the finan­cial bar­rier we face is invin­ci­ble without your help. Would you con­si­der hel­ping? Join Oli­wia’s team and help her as she fights for her life.

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