Joe and Libby Lombardo’s family life changed upon first hearing about Isabella’s developmental delays in being unable to lift her head at the age of 3 months. What followed were 2 years of painful testing to conclusively diagnose that their daughter had Cerebral Palsy. Taking courage to go against Australian medical advice, in 2016 they flew their daughter to the United States for spinal surgery (SDR – Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy). In this spinal surgery nerves to the legs are cut, allowing the leg muscles that were once tight, to relax. From there, the leg muscles can strengthen and the person may learn to walk.
Then in August 2018, Isabella’s parents took her to Mexico for Stem Cell surgery to treat damaged nerves and build new connections to the brain, brain stem and spinal cord.
What followed was a remarkable start to Isabella’s recovery and one where the family started to rebuild their outward strength to establish a Foundation and help other families around the world, caring for a child with Cerebral Palsy.
Each step of her journey was captured in Australian mainstream media and chronicled into the documentary called The Unknown Upside. Recover/Me has partnered to bring the story to date.
Microtia and atresia is a rare congenital condition affecting one in every 10,000 births and where one or both ears are missing or when the outer ear has not fully developed. 10 year old Sebastian was born with right side Microtia Atresia and in 2019 had ear reconstruction surgery.
Colleen worked in the fashion industry throughout her successful career. She talks about recent ground-breaking treatment that has given back her confidence and ability to keep a steady hand in day-to-day tasks. Today she lives in Melbourne with her husband Reg, and volunteers at Epworth Hospital in Richmond, Victoria.