Jennifer and Jason Kojro-Badziak met their son, Jakob, when he was 2 months old and hospitalized in the neonatal intensive care unit of an Indiana hospital. The couple immediately fell in love and started the adoption process. They were immediately thrust into the chaotic world of raising a medically complex child. Jennifer said the Division of Specialized Care for Children has helped her family navigate this new world and provide the best life possible for Jakob.
Stanton Whitted's short life has been a series of new diagnoses, physical and developmental delays, medical procedures, therapies and treatment plans. With the help of the Division of Specialized Care for Children and other community supports, Stanton is now an active little boy showing more potential than his family thought possible.
Everett Jamison's journey with a rare form of epilepsy has been a hard battle and an emotional roller coaster for him and his family. His mom, Trisha, says their Division of Specialized Care for Children Care Coordinator has provided valuable emotional support and resources to navigate the medical, social and financial issues that come with Everett’s condition.
Brandy Santiago was pregnant with her son Trooper Orosco when he was diagnosed with Down syndrome. Trooper then failed his newborn hearing screening after birth. Brandy says the Division of Specialized Care for Children helped her family navigate the new world of her son's diagnoses. DSCC continues to provide a valuable support system as he grows and develops.
Zayd Jawad knows the challenges of growing up with a rare disease all too well. The 21-year-old was born with Hunter syndrome, a lysosomal storage disorder that affects his bodily systems and physical growth and development. UIC's Division of Specialized Care for Children was a constant presence throughout his childhood and adolescence, providing much-needed reassurance to Zayd and his parents. This support gave him hope and put him on the path to helping others.
Sabrina Doueihi was born with a fatty tissue that squeezed her spinal cord as she grew, eventually affecting her ability to walk and use her limbs. Her family says the Division of Specialized Care for Children has helped them adjust to Sabrina’s changing needs and provide the right equipment and supports to foster her independence.
Payton was born with a gene mutation so rare that it doesn’t have a name. The condition affects the STXBP1 gene and causes seizures, developmental delays, nonverbal communication and abnormal muscle movements. The Division of Specialized Care for Children has helped provide the accommodations, equipment and resources needed to help Payton stay active and comfortable as he grows.
At 11 years old, Radhika Agarwal suddenly started seizing and was diagnosed with refractory epilepsy with autoimmune limbic encephalitis. The effects of the disease were devastating. With the help of DSCC, Radhika's parents were eventually able to bring their daughter home and find a new normal together as a family.
The Lance family endured an emotional rollercoaster to deliver their twin sons, Gavin and Gabe. Once they arrived, a new world of diagnoses, appointments, therapies, medications and equipment began for the family. The twins' mother, Jessica, says DSCC has provided invaluable support for her family's diverse needs.