Stories about: Alycia Berg

Keeping the bar high: Chasing adventure with cerebral palsy

Maggie has cerebral palsy — and a big smile
PHOTOS: COURTESY OF THE KING FAMILY

Maggie King is a thrill seeker: At 25, she’s been scuba diving, ridden in a hot air balloon, tackled every ride at Disney World multiple times and even flown to Los Angeles to attend the live finale for the 21st season of the TV show Survivor. “She’s all in, all the time,” says her mom, Dana.

It’s an attitude that Dana and her husband Dennis believe their daughter developed soon after birth, when an episode of anoxia, or severe oxygen deprivation, left her with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy (CP) and other medical concerns. “At first, we were petrified,” says Dana, who was a social worker at Maggie’s birth hospital at the time. “We never expected to be on the other side of things. It was like being in a giant fog.”

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Living with Rett syndrome, living with hope

Ava, age 7, has Rett syndrome.For the first year of her life, Ava Gryniewicz seemed to be developing like any other happy baby. She had learned a few words, including “mama” and “dada,” and was picking up Cheerios with pincer fingers.

But by the time she was 14 months old, everything had changed. Ava started to lose these skills and wasn’t reaching other milestones. At the recommendation of her daycare center, she started early intervention.

“She wasn’t keeping up and her daycare providers were concerned that standard daycare might be too much for her,” says her mom, Joanne. That’s when Joanne and her husband Jack decided to have Ava evaluated.

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