I’ll never forget that moment, and the look on Milana’s face.
After seeing all the other children her age, even her younger brother, who were walking, running and jumping, while Milana struggled to even stand up…her breakthrough finally arrived.
I guess the weeks and months of practice in therapy triggered something with her hips and legs. We counted to ten together, and she remained standing – all by herself – with no support!
At three and a half years old, this was the triumph we’d been waiting for. I gave her the tightest hug and immediately called my husband, and we shed tears of joy together.
Thank you for helping to give us this unforgettable moment.
The next year and a half was a blur of neurological exams, MRI’s and blood tests. Still, no one was able to provide a diagnosis or an explanation for Milana’s condition. It was a heart-wrenching time for us as parents. Furthermore, I couldn’t go back to work, and didn’t want to send Milana to daycare as she wasn’t independently mobile like the other kids her age.
We desperately wanted to understand what was behind our little girl’s delays. With this information, we’d have a better idea of what the future held for Milana and how we could help her. With all the uncertainty, I felt helpless and depleted, alone and isolated.
All of this changed when we stepped into the MAB-Mackay for the first time. We were warmly welcomed into their new “Early Intervention Program” when Milana was a little more than three. The therapists were all so encouraging and understanding, and this gave us the hope we so desperately needed. They started with an intense schedule of therapies to promote her development in key areas, and she advanced in leaps and bounds!
Milana’s physiotherapist concentrated on weight bearing and teaching her brain how to walk in a proper gait, with the support of a walker. They also taught her other important skills, such as how to get dressed on her own (taking off her jacket and shirts, pants and socks), how to cut with scissors, and how to go the bathroom by herself. Each accomplishment gave her more dignity and resolve to push further. We were elated with the strides she was making – it was greatest thing that has happened to our family, hands down!
They even loaned us a training bike, which Milana used tons and tons this summer. Not only was it great exercise, but it helped so much with her walking because it allowed her to work on her hips a lot.
As parents, we’re so proud of Milana and the amazing attitude she kept through all the difficult times. She’s like an angel dropped out of heaven. She’s so determined and full of strength in her heart. She practically never complained when seeing the other kids playing while she was going to doctors appointments, getting needles and tests, or going for therapies.
Earlier this year, Milana’s therapists asked us about our plans for elementary school. They suggested the Mackay Centre School, and helped make all the arrangements for our transition from out-patient therapy to this wonderful adapted school.
Milana started pre-kindergarten there in September, and she’s doing so well! She has lots of friends, loves her teacher, and she especially adores gym class where she can run around with her walker. The amazing thing about this school is that the MAB-Mackay’s therapists are on-site too. Milana is working with them to further build her strength and coordination.
Without you, none of this would have been possible for Milana.
Our story doesn’t end here.
Milana has come so far. Her goal by the end of the school year is to walk into her classroom by herself (without her walker, as you see in the picture). We’re confident that she’ll be successful, and we can’t wait to celebrate this milestone with her!
As parents, it’s hard to express how important it is to know that all of our daughter’s needs are being looked after. Thanks to supporters of the Habilitas Foundation, we’re able to sleep easier at night, knowing that the MAB-Mackay will be there by our side, supporting Milana with the tools and skills to lead a full and happy childhood.
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you!!
Sabrina, Milana’s proud mom