Maggie Lent dances her way through life. As a baby, the rhythm of a drum would get her moving. As a toddler, she lip-synced before she could talk. The world is her stage.
For Maggie’s parents, Lissette and Stephen, seeing their daughter live with such joy and energy is a testament to their decision before Maggie was even born to fight for her, advocate for her, and challenge her to overcome barriers.
Lissette credits Easterseals with providing Maggie the services and support she needed to accomplish her milestones.
“The first three years of development were crucial and key to helping Maggie become who she is today,” Lissette said.
At her 17-week checkup, Lissette noticed that the ultrasound technician was taking a little longer than usual and fixating on her unborn baby’s heart, kidneys, and brain. It was then that she knew something wasn’t normal, and when doctors called later to confirm that the baby wasn’t developing properly, she said the news hit her like a ton of bricks.
The time leading up to Maggie’s birth was full of unanswered questions, constant monitoring, and little hope.
As the mom of three, including a toddler, Lissette and Stephen felt scared, guilty, and nervous. But eventually, Lissette began to alter her mindset. She decided that instead of holding onto negative emotions, she would focus only on hope and determination to give Maggie the best life.
When Maggie Hope was born at 37 weeks, she was diagnosed with trisomy 8 mosaicism. In the hospital, through every moment in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, through every test and moment of uncertainty, Lissette set a firm rule for every nurse: Only positive words and thoughts around her baby.
At three weeks old, Maggie came home and Easterseals Southwest Human Development came into the picture. It was a natural fit. With the best therapy services needed to get Maggie on track, support for the entire family, and dedication to helping Maggie lead a full life, Easterseals quickly became part of the Lent family.
“We were so fortunate to have been given Easterseals’ name,” Lissette said. “The people there walked beside us from the start, they came to our house, and they helped us find the services Maggie needed. I can honestly say that without them, Maggie wouldn’t be the little girl she is today.”
Through Easterseals, Maggie continues to excel. With the help of feeding specialists, Maggie was able to overcome a feeding issue and today eats whenever she’s offered the opportunity. After a diagnosis of a cortical visual impairment, with the help of her Easterseals team, Maggie was set up with the right supports to get a pair of glasses at a year old. Today, she walks and dances and is beginning to verbalize what she wants (she uses American Sign Language to communicate.)
The tempo of Maggie’s life is like that of any other eight year old’s. She loves to be at school, she loves her friends, she loves animals, and she loves her family. She is looked after by her siblings and checked on by her team at Easterseals. Maggie still faces challenges, but she faces each one with hope. After all, that’s all she’s ever known.
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