Leo’s Story

Thank you just doesn’t seem like enough! When Leo was diagnosed at birth with DS and a VSD, we were taken back. Learning he had an extra chromosome was a small thing to us, but the congenital heart defect was so big. We were uncertain of many things, how his life would be, what to expect for his overall health, etc. Waiting and preparing for his open heart surgery was a big experience, to say the least. At nearly 4 months old, on Good Friday, his heart was restored and ultimately kick-started our exceptional journey with ICEC.

Leo gained cardiology clearance to join the EIP program in Laguna Beach in June, 2013. To be honest, we were hesitant about the program due to our unfamiliarity, but mostly because of the overwhelming feeling to choose the best for Leo and our family. However, within moments of our first visit to the Wednesday morning group, all that vanished. We were welcomed with genuine love. We were confronted and nurtured by parents just like us. We were educated, trained, supported, and encouraged by the most kind and caring staff and therapists. Nonetheless the most overwhelming feeling of all as the inspiring children which caused out hearts to explode with hope. Not just hope for Leo, but for all the children in that circle and elsewhere! We were so impressed by the near one-year –olds who clearly displayed mighty skills and were ready to graduate from EIP. At the time it was difficult to visualize that our Leo would make similar gains in development in those coming months. And not to our surprise, he did!

Each step of our journey at ICEC has been empowering and enriching. Seeing Leo’s enormous gains in development over the past 2.5 years make it easy to be excited for what’s to come next. In other words, our hearts are still exploding with hope for Leo and his friends. You as our mentors, coaches and now our friends have enriched our family more than can be expressed. Not only did you contribute to Leo’s development, but you provided such encouragement, honestly, guidance, friendship and support to all of our family. You’ve held our hands and lifted us up every opportunity available. You’ve given us your love and there is no doubt that we chose the best.

Thank you so graciously for including our family in ICEC’s positive and meaningful contribution to the world.

The Cruz Family, Alex, Ann, Mya and Leo