By Daniel J. Vance MS, LPC, NCC
About three years ago, I shared the story of New Yorker Patrick Donohue and his 4-year-old daughter, Sarah Jane. Much has happened since and Donohue's nonprofit foundation is important, so I telephoned recently asking for updates. If you remember, for no apparent reason, a hired nurse violently abused Sarah Jane at five days old and broke four of her ribs, her collarbone, and caused a pediatric traumatic brain injury (PTBI). The nurse fully confessed her crime to police. Three years ago, Sarah Jane couldn't walk, stand, talk intelligibly or eat on her own.
Donohue, who had been an attorney and high-powered political consultant, started the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation to fund and encourage PTBI research. PTBI, which can be caused in part by car accidents, stroke, tumors, falls, sports injuries or gunshots, is the nation's leading cause of child death and disability. Through the Foundation, Donohue has been developing a seamless, standardized, nationwide, evidence-based system of PTBI care universally accessible for children, adults, and families. He also has been an advocate for expanded government funding of PTBI research.
Lately, Sarah Jane has been improving because of the care of chiropractic neurologist Dr. Victor Pedro, who Donohue met at a Harvard conference. Said 41-year-old Donohue in a telephone interview, “Within five days of (Dr. Pedro) working with her, she was sleeping through the night for the first time in a year and within a month was off all medication. Within three months, we started seeing changes in her behaviors. All her therapists report cognitive gains. These are monumental shifts.”
He added, “(Sarah Jane) now goes to a wonderful school in Manhattan called Standing Tall. She is thriving in the school environment. She can't speak or walk, but she will. My job as her dad is to change the world for her by advancing new types of treatments and therapies, and raising awareness.”
Donohue has gone global with his Foundation, even promoting his vision in Asian countries. In the U.S., he has been shepherding a $2.9 billion, seven-year initiative through Congress for PTBI research. Donohue said the federal government spends billions annually on HIV/AIDS and autism research, but only $10 million on PTBI even though 755.000 American youths visit hospitals annually with new brain injuries.
He said, “Every day I can say I'm making progress for Sarah Jane is a wonderful day. Keep the prayers coming because they work.”
Contact: danieljvance.com [Blue Valley Sod and Palmer Bus Service make this column possible.]