Sandra Lee and Valentino | Hong Kong
Hope draws the potential in children like Valentino to new, unexpected heights, 2019
"When our first child Valentino was 3 years old, he suffered traumatic brain injuries that resulted in a sudden loss of his sight, speech, and motor functions. Doctors in Hong Kong gave the grim prognosis that he had lost all cognitive abilities, and might never regain his functions.
Curiously, in the months that passed, we saw slow improvements in Valentino. But treatment options for children with traumatic brain injury seemed limited and dated in Hong Kong, especially for those who cannot see or communicate. We knew we had to look outside of Hong Kong and traditional medicine for a better solution. Our search eventually led us to a team of neuroscientists at the Burke Research Institute, a new research laboratory in New York.
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The team focused on visual impairment resulting from brain injury, and showed us innovative experiments they were conducting on rodents to measure and encourage visual recovery. We knew that Valentino had to be part of this research.
The team built for Valentino a computer version of their eye-tracking program, which we used as daily visual therapy back in Hong Kong. Through Valentino, they were able to show the efficacy of their innovation in human beings, and within 2 years partnered with New York's Blythedale Children’s Hospital, where the program is actively used in patients with similar challenges as Valentino. This year, the Burke team was awarded with a multi-million dollar NIH grant, which gives recognition to the importance and urgency of their work.
During the 7 years that we have been working with the Burke team, Valentino’s vision has recovered significantly. The Burke-Blythedale experts are now exploring how to leverage his vision as a tool for Valentino to communicate. While there is no certainty of such recovery, we have learned that hope draws the potential in children like Valentino to new, unexpected heights." See YouTube here