Danielle Lynnette Vick was born on April 10, 2004 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Because she was born three months earlier than expected, Danielle needed to be hospitalized for the first 8 months of her life. Her doctors were hopeful and said although she had a long road ahead, there was a great chance that she would be a perfectly healthy child.
Like most preemies, Danielle had some respiratory issues, and some problems with her lungs, so she needed a tracheostomy and ventilator to help her breathe. But she showed everyone she was a true fighter and continued to make great progress. She was a happy, spunky, bright-eyed bundle of joy.
Though her development was delayed, at ten months she was at home, full of personality and continued making progress. She was crawling, rolling over, playing, and just full of life! And then, one day, everything changed.
In 2005, three days after her 1st birthday, Danielle had an episode that forever altered her life. Danielle’s brain went a long time without oxygen. Her parents received the heartbreaking news; Danielle had suffered an anoxic brain injury. The brain damage caused her to lose her motor skills and her ability to speak. She also needed a feeding tube, and was completely dependant upon others for care.
Danielle’s mother, Florence, was quickly thrust into a new world where she had to become an advocate for her daughter to help her get the therapies and services she now needed. It became a constant struggle to get Danielle the care she needed, in fact it seemed like every time Florence turned around the therapies, benefits, and resources Danielle needed were just out of grasp, or were denied by the insurance company. Although her life had been drastically altered, and she no longer was the same active little girl, her vibrant personality and the fight in her remained strong.
Sadly, on December 28, 2008, at 4 years old, Danielle passed away due to complications of her anoxic brain damage. Though her time here ended prematurely, her memory will forever remain. Danielle moved, touched and inspired the lives of many in her short four years of life.
One major result of her inspiration was that Florence teamed with her friend and together they began dedicating their time to help other families—families that shared the same struggles, complications, and frustrations as Florence—get the services, benefits, and care their children so desperately needed.
If you are the parent of a child with a brain injury, we know the questions you have, the frustrations you face, and how your biggest goal is to make sure your child lives the best life possible. It’s a little more complicated to get our children what they need, and it takes a little more time, effort, and research, but with the right support and direction, it can be done!
We created Danielle’s Foundation as a place where parents can come to for guidance, resources and most importantly support. We’re hoping you’ll join us in our crusade to provide peace of mind and hope for the future for parents of children with brain injuries everywhere!