Like many kids with a disability, Marlina was the victim of childhood neglect. Diagnosed with Down syndrome and asthma, she was raised in squalor in a single parent home.
When she moved to Angel View, she was dangerously overweight. She rarely spoke and avoided human contact. She was covered in insect bites and wheezed constantly. To protect her health, her few belongings had to be burned.
But what a difference loving care can make! Through the support of our medical professionals, dieticians, therapists, and direct care staff, Marlina transformed from a social outcast into a social butterfly.
Thanks to a healthy diet, she’s shed a whopping 90 pounds. Now she dresses like a princess, can’t wait to have her hair done, dances every day and even walked the runway in our annual fashion show fundraiser. “Actually,” she says, beaming, “I rocked the runway!”
One of our first medical interventions was providing oxygen. Pulling a portable tank didn’t slow her down a bit. Ever the fashionista, Marlina adorned her cart with a pink knit kitty cap. As much as she enjoyed the opportunity for self-expression, she’s even happier now. Her weight loss and calm living environment gave her an unexpected gift. For the first time in years, she is nearly always able to breathe on her own. Now more days than not, when we see Marlina, we do a double take – no tubes, no tank – just a serene smile.
Marlina shares a home with five other Angel View clients who benefit from round the clock care. Her housemates have become a new kind of family -- one that’s helped settle her emotionally. No longer fearful, she participates in regular outings looks forward to joining the working class. She’s currently enrolled in Angel View’s job training program, and can’t wait to start her first part-time job.