Mara is a spunky 5 year old little girl who attends The Rise School of Houston. She continues to thrive in school and surpasses expectations constantly, despite the fact that she has Down syndrome. But, it hasn’t always been like this. From the time Mara was born until she was 1, she had continual health issues. She spit up a lot, had trouble gaining weight, could not sit up, was constantly fussy and had an extended abdomen.
Even though she visited doctor after doctor, all whom had different theories, Mara’s issues were not getting resolved. Over the course of all of the doctor’s visits she was diagnosed with a milk allergy, anemia, gastroparesis and some even attributed her issues to Down syndrome. While she did have all of these and more, the big question was never answered. Why does she have all these issues, and how can we help her?
After Mara turned 1, she began attending The Rise School of Houston; a preschool for children with and without special needs. While there, both Mara’s teacher and therapists urged her mother to keep fighting to find answers. The teacher and therapists knew it had to be more than what they had previously been told. That is what drove Mara’s mom to Texas Children’s Hospital. There, she met Dr. David Wesson, a pediatric surgeon who helped find the cause of Mara’s ailments. Thankfully, the staff at Texas Children’s found Mara had a blockage that led to her malabsorption of food. A diagnosis of a duodenal web was the cause of all of her other ailments. Because of this, Mara was malnourished, causing her to experience slow hair and teeth growth, crying bursts, slow weight gain and extended abdomen.
Before surgery, Mara’s therapy goals were to roll to where she wanted to go. A few months after the surgery, she surpassed those goals and began sitting up on her own, pulling up to a standing position and soon, walking. Her hair and teeth began to grow in and she no longer spit up her food. Her life had changed. She began to excel in everything she did, and she continues to do so to this day.
Because The Rise School staff continually pushed for Mara’s family to see the doctors at Texas Children’s and the doctor’s continual work to find answers, Mara is now able to flourish in her life. When the need is great, and the risk is high, the partnership between The Rise School of Houston and Texas Children’s is one that continues to find hope for others.