Casey McCabe Scott is the delightful young woman pictured with Dr. Gary Feldman. She is also the cute, spunky moppet on Dr. Geraldine Stramski’s lap. Casey, now 26, was a patient at Stramski Center over 20 years ago when she was chosen by the staff to be included in Dr. Stramski’s portrait. Casey was born with spina bifida, a congenital developmental disorder caused by the incomplete closing of the embryonic neural tube.

She also developed hydrocephalus, a related disorder, and had clubbed feet. Prenatal ultrasounds were not routine at that time so her parents had no idea their baby had developmental disabilities until after she was born. The initial diagnosis was dire. The doctors said she would not live long and that trying to help her would not be wise. Fortunately, Casey’s parents took her to Long Beach Memorial Center to see pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Barry Ceverha. He operated on the baby and referred her parents to the Stramski Center. Before Casey’s second birthday, there were several more operations, with additional surgeries to follow. The last was when she was twelve. At the Center, Casey’s parents completely embraced Dr. Stramski’s philosophy of helping each child reach his or her optimum potential and of always advocating for independence. Her parents taught Casey not to “settle” and to never give up. Casey learned to walk at Stramski Center, and she is now able to walk at home and at work. She uses a wheel chair out in the community, but makes no other concessions to her disability. She was “mainstreamed” all through school and earned eight letters in high school. She was team manager for the track and volley ball teams, netting her seven letters; and she received a letter in music, for her singing. When asked what she would say to a child with spina bifida, Casey said, “Don’t let it affect you – you have to live life.”

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