Emaline Joy entered the world as the answer to her
and the fulfillment of their dreams. By the time Ema was four
months old, her parents knew something wasn’t right. The little
family entered a dark valley when Emaline was diagnosed with
infantile spasms (a deadly seizure disorder) and an MRI revealed
she had a massive stroke shortly before birth. The future was
uncertain and looked bleak.
An emergency trip across the country
brought Emaline to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where she
received prompt and excellent neurological intervention. When
the seizures stopped the girl that was hidden behind a brain
that was in constant static was free to blossom. She smiled more
in that first seizure-free day than she had in her entire life
Because of the stroke, her right side is
weak, similar to what you would expect as the result of a stroke
in an adult. Therapy became her life. And so did hand and foot
braces. Emaline says, “they make me run fast!”
As a growing girl, she needs new braces
frequently and paying for braces proved to be a hardship as
private insurance refused to cover them. A friend, who is also a
Shriner, walked the family through the process to get Ema seen
at Shriner’s Hospital. This would turn out to be the family’s
most rewarding medical experience.
From the personal escort to the right floor
for her first appointment to the comfort provided to Emaline’s
crying little sister, Shriner’s Hospital demonstrated that they
cared about the whole family.
Partway through that first day, Emaline
played in the fourth-floor play room between appointments. Her
mom whispered to her dad, “This is the most amazing hospital I
have ever seen…I hope I didn’t just jinx it!” She did not jinx
it! Shriner’s hospital has provided the same excellent care for
Emaline in the area of orthopedics for four years now.
Her care from Shriner’s Hospital has helped
her live a full life. Ema is an active little eight-year-old.
She loves to swim, ski, ride horses, hike
and scooter up and down the sidewalk. She has a special bond
with her three little sisters and dotes on them all. She hopes
to become a ballet instructor so she can “teach all the children
in the world.