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Miami Proud: PATCHES, a place for special needs children where miracles happen


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    MIAMI (WFOR) — “Ellie is our middle daughter. She is eight years old and she is amazing,” explains Dalia Baurichter.

Ellie uses a wheelchair and is nonverbal.

She was a preemie, born at 33 weeks and just under four pounds.

She is the second and biggest premature baby to Dalia and Tony Baurichter.

At first, they thought ‘We got this’ because initially there was nothing obviously different.

“You know, it was more like progressively for her instead of getting ready to get discharged. But while in the NICU, they kept noticing more and more complications.”

She was diagnosed with a very rare genetic condition called Ohdo syndrome.

“It’s a gene mutation that affects her physical development and her intellectual development. There’s a handful of individuals around the world who have it and we are one of them,” said Baurichter.

Ellie’s care was complex with three therapists coming to their then rural North Carolina home.

When she was 18 months, they moved to South Miami-Dade and found PATCHES.

“PATCHES is the kind of place that we didn’t know we needed until we came here kind of thing. You know, everything was unknown, like everything was new all the time. And so having PATCHES was just like, I guess it’s just a relief.”

Here they offer special nursing care and therapy for newborns to age 21 with all kinds of complications, some who are nonverbal, bedbound or just need speech therapy, all need special loving care. For Ellie’s family, it has been a lifesaver.

Therapist Alfton Greene has been seeing her for therapy since she was very tiny.

“I’ve seen her learn to sit, learn to move around, learn to hold things, learn to eat,” Greene said.

For nearly seven years, five days a week, Ellie keeps surprising everyone.

“She took her first few unassisted steps, which is a huge milestone and we were all in shock because we didn’t expect it to happen,” said Baurichter.

Fabiola Dominguez is the director of nursing at PATCHES.

“It takes a village to take care of these kids,” she said.

She can attest to the program’s success.

“I have twins who were preemies that will start high school next year because of PATCHES,” she added.

Whether the children stay here through age 21 or graduate to attend regular school, it is a place giving families much-needed help and hope.

“It’s amazing to see her, doing those things, things that we weren’t sure if they would ever happen,” said Baurichter.

PATCHES was founded over 20 years ago. The nonprofit is currently working to develop a new state-of-the-art facility to help even more children.

For more information on PATCHES, click here:

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