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The day we were told that Isabella

The day we were told that Isabella had been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, the doctors pointed to a picture of a wheelchair on a chart to show us where she would likely end up. I instinctively said out loud, “That’s not going to happen to my daughter.”

We immediately decided that we had to do whatever it takes to make sure that Isabella lives her life to the fullest.

Today, Isabella dreams of being able to walk on her own. For now, that dream that seems possible, but far away. It is a dream that inspires us and we are using every resource available to see her dream come true.

Whether Isabella ends up walking by herself or not, we want her to be as independent as possible and be able to pursue a happy, pain-free life and contribute to the world on her own terms.

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So far, Isabella has undergone a controversial surgery, called SDR (Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy). Australian doctors were opposed, but we took our chances and went to the best surgeon in the world in the USA. After surgery, she was a different person. Her mobility increased dramatically, her pain went away and her confidence was over the moon.

This inspired her and us to look for more ways to help her.

After 2 years of searching, just recently we took another massive step. We travelled to Mexico where Isabella received stem-cell therapy. Early results show that this has a very good chance of helping improve her condition and helping her to walk someday.

In addition, for the past 4 years, Isabella has put in hundreds of pain-staking hours into physical therapy. We have travelled the world to work with the best and this needs to continue 4 days a week, every week.

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The journey is far from over. We are in the thick of it.

It goes without saying, that the expenses to give Isabella the best chance in life have been astronomical. We’ve sold property and investments. We’ve sacrificed willingly for our girl.
So many people who meet Isabella and hear her story are moved. They are captivated by her spirit; her resilience. Almost immediately they ask, “What can I do to help?’

The Isabella Lombardo Foundation is available for people to contribute financially to her journey.

Our dream is to see Isabella’s dream become a reality.

You can help.

We are ever so grateful.

Libby and Joseph Lombardo
The Isabella Lombardo Foundation

About the Foundation

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The Isabella Lombardo Foundation, has been established to raise funding for medical intervention, therapy and care for Isabella. Our dream is to see her dream to walk become a reality.

In partnership with The Rotary Club Australia, The Isabella Lombardo Foundation provides transparent accountability for all donations received. All contributions are tax-deductible in Australia.

Rotary Australia Project: 28-2016-17 Isabella’s Journey to Walk (RACG)

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My husband Joey and I couldn’t have been more excited when our daughter Isabella came into the world. We had already had an idyllic romance before she came along: we met at a party and haven’t wanted to be apart from that night.

When Isabella was born she was our little pixie and we enjoyed every minute; she quickly became our whole world.
At birth, her Apgar results were perfect and there was no problem or indication that anything would be wrong. But after a routine check-up around 3-months old, a midwife was concerned that she was not lifting her head well and advised us to see a paediatrician.

About Isabella

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From that moment everything changed, but our love grew stronger. We went through an agonising process of uncertainty– was it a brain tumour; was it genetic? would she walk? We tried everything – emergency MRIs and every test that there is. For 18 months we held our breath; our world stopped, hoping that we would get the all-clear. It seemed to go on forever and the constant testing was confusing and painful for baby Isabella. After months and no clear diagnosis, all we knew was that our little girl would need a lot of help and be very physically challenged. She tested as extremely capable mentally, which is a huge blessing.

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We began intense physiotherapy and painful botox injections in her arms and legs to help her muscles relax, but at 4-years old, Isabella still couldn’t walk, stand or move independently. It became painful for us to see the other kids crawl, walk and run as we knew Isabella was longing to spread her wings too. By this time her diagnosis was a form of Cerebral Palsy that makes her muscles tense, painful and restrictive to move.

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While in a hospital waiting room, we met another mum, Rebecca, who knew exactly what we were going through. Her 3 year-old son Finn has the same condition as Isabella. When we heard that they had booked in for SDR (Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy), a surgical procedure best performed in the U.S. that enables sufferers of certain kinds of Cerebral Palsy to walk by freeing the muscles then gain strength in movement, we knew we had found a potential miracle – especially after watching little Finn walk independently just 4 months after his surgery.
We discovered that Isabella was the perfect candidate for this life changing surgery, perfected by world leading surgeon Dr. Park, at the ST Louis Children’s Hospital.

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Australian doctors did everything to discourage us short of confiscating our passports! But, we became hellbent on getting her to the States, no matter what it took. Even though the total cost for the surgery and expenses was $100,000 (expenses incurred since birth have been over $200,000) that wasn’t even the hardest part. Seeing your daughter go through discomfort and suffering that she doesn’t have the maturity to process is the real challenge – it was tough love and the hardest month of our lives. But the successful aftermath has had profound, life-affirming results for all of us and now we are on a path to find more ways that can safely help her improve.

Follow the journey on Instagram.