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“Go Robert!” shouted 12-year-old Isabel Miranda as her older brother sprinted across the finish line. That morning at Summer Scamper, Robert outran 2,019 other racers to take third place in the 5k.
This hearty cheer from Isabel means more than you might guess. Just a few years ago, she could barely speak. Today, with your support, she has made incredible progress.
As a baby, Isabel was diagnosed at Packard Children’s with a rare form of epilepsy called Infantile Spasms. The seizure disorder primarily affects babies within their first year of life and is diagnosed in about 2,500 children throughout the U.S. each year.
Children with this disorder often also face developmental disabilities and autism. For Isabel, our hospital has provided the vital care she needs, spanning six specialties, including neurology, which has helped her control a new type of seizure that arrived when she hit puberty. Additionally, Isabel receives physical, occupational, and speech therapy each week.
“Isabel has come so far,” says Robert. “When she was much younger, she had trouble speaking, and most of the time only my parents and I could understand her. Isabel has spent hours upon hours in speech therapy for years, and now the difference is unbelievable. Everyone can understand her, and she is now working on speaking in complete thoughts, which would have been impossible when she began.”
But Isabel’s absolute favorite therapy? Music therapy. She spends at least four hours each month exploring musical instruments and expressing herself through songs and sounds.
“Packard Children’s has done so much for my sister, and we have relied on the hospital for her care for her entire life,” Robert adds.
In turn, Robert, a nationally-ranked high school runner, has put his talent to work fundraising through Summer Scamper and other activities to support and expand music therapy at the hospital. “To me, it was a clear decision to not only give back to Packard Children’s, but to help establish a music therapy program that would make a difference for children in need, like my sister.”
Crediting Isabel as his inspiration, this year Robert was not only a top race finisher at Scamper, but also a top fundraiser.
“I’ve seen how tough it is to fight a condition, and I’ve seen all the struggles Isabel has gone through over the years,” Robert says. “I have nothing but the utmost respect and love for Isabel and for the other patients and families at Packard Children’s.”
To the families of patients–and to donors like you–Robert offers these encouraging words: “Your love and support make all the difference.”
Your support makes a life-changing difference every day for patients like Isabel. Make your best gift today at supportLPCH.org/donate. Thank you!
This article first appeared in the Fall 2016 issue of the Children's Fund Update.