Olivia, Fairfax, VA
3rd Annual Washington, DC Casino Night Event Recipient
One of our little recipients at the DC Casino Night was Olivia, a seven year old who was brought to us by Becky Bentley, former recipient and current Betterment board member. Olivia was diagnosed with a brain tumor attached to her spinal cord and cerebellum in 2006. As a result of many complications with the surgery to remove the tumor, she developed a chain reaction of health problems, including hydrocephalus requiring the placement of a shunt, a cerebellar mutism disallowing her to speak for five months, deafness in one ear, the inability to walk on her own, and nystagmus making her cross-eyed. These are immense medical difficulties for such a little girl to battle. On top of that, the family was rapidly reaching their insurance cap. In an effort to assist Olivia in her struggle to control her involuntary eye movements and learn to read, Betterment helped to pay for therapy sessions designed to focus her eyes on the written word. Funds from Betterment were also used for weekly horse riding lessons through the Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program. Her parents, Jim & Amy, told Betterment "Horseback riding has been a wonderful opportunity for Olivia to learn a new skill and is a big part of her continuing recovery. Olivia's motor skills and coordination have improved, in part, due to the riding lessons"