(If you already know Cady's story, or have a short attention span, skip to the end of this post for info on how you can help Cady.)
Born to parents Kelly and Corey Smith, Cadence was born on July 20, 2007 with Meconium Aspiration Syndrome and spent her first 12 days of life on oxygen. While recovering from this, the nurses began to notice things were not right with her. She lacked certain reflexes, was unresponsive in some areas and had very poor muscle tone. The doctors knew a knot had been discovered in her umbilical cord at birth and they began to suspect the knot had been tugged before birth, cutting off the oxygen to her brain.
An MRI confirmed their suspicions, as it showed there was damage to a part of her brain called the thalamus. Kelly and Corey were told there was no prognosis and they would have to wait and see how she developed. Soon after this diagnosis, they received more bad news. They were having a hard time getting her to drink her bottles so a swallow study was performed. It revealed that Cadence was silently aspirating her formula and she was no longer allowed to be bottle fed. A feeding tube was placed in her belly and once she recovered from this surgery she was allowed to go home. She was there for just about six weeks.
Skipping ahead to today, Cady, who turns 2 in July, cannot walk or talk, hardly ever laughs, has difficulty using her hands and can't even sit up or hold her head up regularly. It is believed that cognitively she's all there, as she smiles a lot, recognizes people and places, has her favorite television shows and enjoys listening to music. However, as we are sure anyone would agree, this is not enough.
We want Cady to flourish, be all she can be. We want her to talk to us, tell us her wants and needs. We want to see her run (or at least walk) alongside her siblings. We want to hear her laugh. Her family wants to have her join them for dinner each night and enjoy the same foods they do. Kelly and Corey want to hear her say, “I love you, mommy and daddy.”
By the time Cady hit the 18-month mark, it seemed like she wasn't going to get much better. A bath chair and then a wheelchair soon arrived, as did a special chair for her to use around the house. Though she had been given the okay to eat some soft foods at four months old, a swallow study in March revealed she was once again aspirating her food. She was put back to a strict g-tube diet and we felt like she had regressed. Kelly and Corey started to accept that her disability is profound and she is going to require lifelong care.
But there's good news! Shortly before Cadence was born, her parents made the decision to bank her umbilical cord blood. They had no idea about the knot, but something told them they had to do this. Kelly and Corey believed Cadence (their third and unexpected child) was their last chance to bank some cord blood that might one day save her life or that of one of her siblings. It turns out that it might instead give her a life.
Earlier this year, Kelly received a letter from the company they used to bank Cady's blood. It said that the bank was teaming up with Duke University in North Carolina to conduct clinical trials on children with Cerebral Palsy (Cadence's official diagnosis is Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy). The doctor doing the research is infusing children with CP with their own umbilical cord blood in the hopes that the stem cells in the blood will regenerate brain cells and essentially reverse the brain damage.
At first Kelly and Corey didn't think a whole lot about the study. They thought it was a good idea to take part in it, but they weren't expecting anything to come of it. From what we all knew, brain damage is irreversible, but if some researcher at Duke was attempting to prove otherwise, they thought they'd like to help her. However, what they soon found out was that this procedure has been done more than 100 times already and in many cases, it has worked to some degree! Children across the country are talking, walking, heck even running because of this treatment! One little boy was proclaimed free of his CP eight months after the infusion!
Kelly and Corey were astonished and excited, anxious and guardedly optimistic when they learned this. Kelly became aggressive about getting Cady in the trial and finally, after three months of e-mails and a ton of waiting, they got the news May 20 that Cady will have the infusion! They go to North Carolina in July and will be in a clinic at Duke on her second birthday. Probably not much of a birthday for her, but as far as we are all concerned, there is no better gift.
However, Kelly and Corey also learned that the procedure costs between $10,000 and $14,000. We were all shocked to hear this news because we were under the impression that because it is a clinical trial, they will be covering the costs. Had we had known, we would have begun planning for this much sooner. Because the procedure is considered experimental, insurance companies are not paying for it.
So what do we do? Raise the funds, of course! We are in the process of planning several community events, possibly to include a Breakfast for Kids, a Classic Car Show and a Silent Auction Dinner. We've been working non-stop to plan these events and any help is appreciated.
If you'd like to help, there are several ways you can:
1) Make a cash donation by sending your check to (also made payable to): Friends of Cadence Smith, c/o Greenwood Credit Union, 2669 Post Rd., Warwick, RI, 02886. (EIN is 27-0262742.) You can also donate online by clicking the "Donate" button at the top of this page.
2) As we are conducting several raffles, as well as a silent auction, many donations are needed, whether they be gift certificates, gift baskets or other products. These can be sent to Kelly Smith, 4 Prospect St., West Warwick, RI 02893 or if you live locally, arrangement can be made to pick them up. If you live out of state, you may send goods or gift certificates that can be redeemable online.
3) You can help us gather donations, whether they be cash or raffle/silent auctions items. Maybe you own a business or you know someone who does. Or perhaps you are just good at getting people to give you free stuff. If you think you can help, e-mail us at ksmith1027 @ gmail .com. (This address have been broken to prevent spammers from finding it.)
Thanks for reading this and any help you can give. Check back for up-to-date information about this community effort. Together we can give Cadence a wonderful opportunity for health and happiness. :)
With peace and love,
Friends of Cady