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When the toddler’s symptoms became worse, Lorick learned that Ariana had a respiratory condition called respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Additional genetic testing revealed that Ariana also had Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Type 2.
“Ariana was a full-term baby who weighed 8 lbs., 4 ozs. Learning that she has a chronic illness was unexpected,” said Lorick. “I’m an internet geek, so I immediately did research to learn more about SMA and what it meant for our family.”
Lorick credits the physicians, nurses and respiratory therapists in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital with helping her learn how to care for a child with a chronic illness. Now seven years old, Ariana uses a wheelchair for mobility and has a feeding tube. She gets daily breathing treatments and has a compromised immune system. In children with SMA, a respiratory virus can lead to pneumonia.
“Children’s Hospital is an awesome place,” said Lorick. “Ariana has a bond like no other with her respiratory therapists including Beverly Tucker and Laverna Lawson. She loves the Child Life team dearly and she is very loved and spoiled by her Children’s Hospital family. We are very thankful for Dr. Jason Peck, Dr. Robert Hubbird and all of Ariana’s nurses, especially Mallory Sessions and Kerri Manley.”
Ariana has a dog at home and a puppy at her grandmother’s house. She loves being visited by the pet therapy dogs when she is in the hospital.
Lorick’s boyfriend of four years, Ray Knox, has been a strong source of support for Ariana and her mother.