NO LIMITS FOR FIONA
Mom, Jennifer McCarthy shares her story, reflecting back on where her daughter Fiona has been and where she is going.
Jennifer McCarthy: “We knew at 20 weeks gestation that Fiona was going to have a limb deficiency. And we also knew about her heart defect. So her heart defect does affect how the left side of her body grew. Because of her heart, she really couldn’t go through the limb lengthening surgeries. So we decided upon an amputation, and we’ve never looked back since. Lucky for us, we’re in a school district who truly believes in the work of Jawonio. From the moment we came to Jawonio, they were so nice and you feel like family when you walk in the door.”
Fiona began receiving related services with her physical therapist, Mitch Spiegel, now Director of Article 16 services at Jawonio when she was 6 years old. He says,
“Fiona’s initial goals were a concern to Jennifer because she was falling a lot” I think part of the reason why she was falling was she would get tired and it is now six years later. She’s moving the whole time she’s graduated from that prosthetic leg without a knee joint to a free knee joint. And now, she has a computer controlled knee joint where we’re learning how to make her walking more smoothly.
Jennifer continued, “Getting pulled out of classroom time for services is difficult because then, you know, the magnifying glass is on you. The fact that she doesn’t have to leave her academics or her social emotional learning in this classroom, but then we come to Jawonio after school and get even more dynamic services. I think it has just made such a difference for us. I think there is a small stigma of being pulled out of your classroom. To bounce on a ball or or ride a tricycle where she can be focused with Mitch and do what she needs to do — she can really shine, get better and get stronger and she can be active with her friends”.
At this point in her life, thanks to Jawonio, Fiona has no limits. You know, her goals are what she’s going to aspire to in the future. It might be sports, it might be dancing. We kind of have to see what what develops for her. But it’s not her challenges of the prosthetic leg that’s going to determine her journey. It’s going to be what she wants.
Jawonio has been a godsend for so many families. I know she would not be where she is in her amazing life right now without Jawonio.