As good mother’s we play a unique role in our children’s lives… one that may go unnoticed or taken for granted. Now, imagine the role of a mother with a child that has special needs. Every day brings unique challenges that can wear her down or build her up. Every day her strengths and weaknesses are tested. Every day she must fight and advocate for her child. Every day this mother will protect their integrity by embracing her child’s uniqueness. Every day she will find renewed hope and strength in the love she has for her child. This special mother cries, grieves, and mourns what could have been and what may come of her child. But, she must be strong enough to choose to celebrate, value and appreciate the special gift she has received… as tomorrow is not promised.
Our new friend and aspiring entrepreneur, Lisa Collado, is one of these very special mothers who faces her life enmeshed with her medically-fragile child with an incredible amount of strength and courage. Every day Lisa realizes the frailty and preciousness of life and shows her amazing three-year-old daughter, Camilla, unconditional love and devotion. And, she does so alone.
Lisa has always been an ambitious individual. Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, she was determined to make a great life for herself and after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, Lisa moved to New York City. A year later, she met Camilla’s father and they and got married. The following year, the couple was blessed with a beautiful baby girl who they named Camilla.
Camilla was the product of an uneventful pregnancy, but was born via cesarean section as she suffered from Hypoxia (Low Heart Rate, Respiratory Distress) as a result of Merconium Aspiration. Camilla was immediately transferred to a hospital that was better equipped to handle High-Risk Newborns. She remained in the NICU for one month due to Respiratory Distress, Feeding Issues, Jaundice and Hypotonia (Low Muscle Tone). A multitude of diagnostic tests were performed to rule out a possible neurological disorder before she was released from the hospital. One week later, Camilla was re-admitted with the following symptoms: Respiratory Distress, Low Heart Rate, Low Sugar, and Low Body Temperature. She was released one week later with a diagnosis of Mild Hyperthyroidism which was remediated with Synthroid. Camilla’s parents thought their daughter’s health issues were resolved. At almost two years of age, Camilla underwent Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy surgeries while suffering from “Undetected” Severe Pneumonia which resulted in a Stroke. For two months, Camilla resided in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit where she was intubated; given a Tracheotomy; and a Gastrostomy Tube. Prior to being released, Camilla was diagnosed with: Tracheobronchial Malacia; Chronic Lung Disease; Dysphasia; Hypotonia; Hypothyroidism; Sleep Apnea; and Global Developmental Delays. Currently, Camilla continues to require supplemental oxygen; a suction machine for her Trach; a G-Tube for feeding; and wears Eye Glasses. Camilla continues to undergo multiple surgeries and emergency hospital admittances. Unfortunately, Camilla’s father was not able to come to terms with his daughter’s special needs diagnosis, which eventually led to a Separation.
Lisa has encountered numerous obstacles since she became a mother, but her love and appreciation for her special gift does not dwindle. She embraces her daughter with every breath of her being which makes Lisa an even more determined strong young woman. In an effort to help other special needs Latino parents, Lisa created a Facebook page for Camilla called, Unidos en Oracion por Nuestra Camilla (United In Prayer for Our Camilla), to help them find hope and strength during difficult times. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Unidos-en-Oracion-por-Nuestra-Camilla/199985920044227?fref=ts
Here is a video clip of Camilla trying to talk: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151266814121986&set=vb.559761985&type=2&theater
Lisa has also decided to start her own home-based small business allowing her to care for Camilla and earn extra income. Brooklyn Cupcake has already collaborated with Lisa on numerous creative projects and hope that one day she will become an integral part of our company and/or attain her own company. Brooklyn Cupcake applauds and praises Lisa for being an amazing special mother and determined Latina entrepreneur and we celebrate her this Mother’s Day and always.
Check out more of Lisa’s work on: