Please view this documentary about Abby’s Helping Hand: Our Story
Nine year old Abby Sauerhoefer attends Broad Brook Elementary. Abby has struggled with breathing and feeding issues from birth. Immediately following birth, Abby was admitted to the NICU for pneumonia. She had difficulty feeding and maintaining normal body temperature. After one week she was discharged and welcomed home. By two months, we knew something was terribly wrong when she started having frequent, uncontrolled movements of her arms and legs. We learned that these episodes were infantile spasms or seizures. Throughout her first two years of life she was tested for multiple neurological diseases. Extensive testing and treatments led to a diagnosis in July 2009 of a mitochondrial disorder. Along with daily seizures, this disorder does not allow her to walk, speak, or sit up, and her only means of nourishment is through a feeding tube. Seizures are managed, but not completely eliminated, with medication and diet. Although Abby is not able to talk, she expresses her emotions through “Abby songs”. She loves music and enjoys the company of other children. She moves around by rolling or using a wheelchair.
Abby attends school every day where she receives physical and occupational therapy. She splits her day with her third grade friends and pre-K activities such as coloring and painting with assistance from her nurse, ‘Miss Laura’. Abby has many friends who read to her and help her through her day. She is often invited to birthday parties and attends as many community events as possible.