Inspiring Stories

The Maloni BoysDominic Maloni could not have been a better baby. He was quiet and easy going. In his first year of life, he met all of the usual milestones sitting up, speaking his first words, walking.

At 13 months, he could organize his toy cars in a line from smallest to largest. He could even figure out a puzzle...

Jimmy HolmesHe smiles when his mother cuddles with him, laughs when his sister tickles him, and loves when his father sings to him. As long as he's around other people, that toothy grin and hearty giggle will make an appearance.

To some, Jimmy's happiness may seem surprising. He has faced numerous medical challenges in his short life. But to his mother, Sue Ellen, his...

Kyle Watson with His Mom ColleenThe day Colleen Watson delivered her son Kyle was one of the happiest days of her life. But almost immediately, Watson and her husband Tom were faced with the possibility that the port wine stain that covered Kyle's eyelid, crossed his forehead and circled around the back of his head was more than a...

When you first look at Brianna Robinson, you might not realize that she has cerebral palsy. She does a lot of the same things most other 2 1/2-year-old girls do: she walks and runs, plays with dolls and eagerly reaches for favorite treats. But look closer and you notice that while Brianna enjoys a lot of the same games and activities as other kids her age, she tends to do them with just one hand. The type of cerebral palsy Brianna has causes hemiplegia, in which one...

A Mother’s Story

It’s 1976 and flash bulbs pop as eager relatives urge seven-year-old Lilleen Walters to smile for the camera. Feeling fancy in her flower girl dress, she fights to curve her lips into a smile to please the wedding guests, but her muscles won’t obey. Days and months go by, and Lilleen still can’t smile. Doctors believe she is depressed, and recommend counseling and antidepressants. They don’t help. Years later, when she is 15, Lilleen is diagnosed...

Spinal Cord Injury

Erin and Jade sit across from one another in their bedroom, giggling and playing. Dressed in bright pinks and yellows, they look like little mirror images of one another, with one exception. While Jade perches on the bed, Erin sits in a tiny pink wheelchair because she is paralyzed from the chest down.

At only five years old, the twins have been through a lot together, and they share a unique bond. They were born conjoined at the torso, and Erin's heart...

Traumatic Brain Injury

On an early spring morning in 2006, when Bonnie Frost called out to her 11-year-old son Graeme from the kitchen of their Baltimore row home, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" "Car designer!" he replied, barely looking up from Nintendo -- as though it had always been part of the game plan. And this seemed remarkable to her, for just a year prior neither she nor her son could have fathomed such thoughts.

The Frost family saga divides in two parts...

Foster Parenting

The first few years of my life, I didn't know much about stability or security. I was in and out of foster care, living with six different families by the time I was eight years old.Then I met Bea and Larry Thomas, who became my foster parents.

It was 1994, and I was part of the Kennedy Krieger Institute's Therapeutic Foster Care (TFC) program. The program helps hundreds of children with developmental disabilities, emotional challenges, and medically fragile...

Janie and LilyJanie is sitting at the kitchen table, engrossed in her artwork. Giraffes and elephants dance across the page as her mom, Ann, rests a gentle hand on her shoulder to get her attention and says, "Janie, can you tell me who the president is?" Janie looks up at her mom and gleefully says "Barack Oh-BAH-ma," drawing out the...

Cerebral Palsy

Jordan Miller is seated alone at a long table in a Baltimore County elementary school. He's a quiet boy of 10 amidst a room of rowdier children playing together, and at first glance looks just like your typical third grader. But he's not.

When Jordan notices his mother, Leah, he smiles widely, happy to see her. When he waves, his hand is clenched awkwardly. The arm that propels it is strangely crooked at the wrist. Both are indications he has cerebral palsy....