April 14, 2016, Las Vegas, Nevada – Sister Victoria Dalesandro, OP, who has served since 2011 as the director of caring and healing at San Martin Campus of St. Rose Dominican Hospitals, was profiled in the Spring 2016 issue of Reach, a publication of the hospital.
In the article, Sister Vicki speaks of some of the highlights of her 60 years as an Adrian Dominican Sister. A native of Los Angeles, she returned there to teach in South Central Los Angeles in the 1960s, during the riots, and later opened a social service center for people who lived near the city’s Skid Row.
Sister Vicki first came to St. Rose Dominican in the 1990s, working on a variety of projects – such as classroom on wheels – and beginning her studies for a master’s degree in pastoral studies to allow her to minister as a counselor. She worked with pregnant women in Apple Valley, California and became certified as a chaplain. Back at St. Rose Dominican since 2011, Sister Vicki told Reach that she “love[s] visiting patients and working with the nurses.”
Sister Vicki is now working on the hospital’s new No One Dies Alone pilot program, “training volunteers who are interested in sitting with dying patients who would otherwise be alone.”
April 12, 2016, Adrian, Michigan – Ashley Stegg, a Co-worker who works in the Finance Office at the Adrian Dominican Motherhouse, recently won a victory for her daughter and other children facing special needs. After three years of persistent effort on her part, the Meijer grocery and department store in Adrian now has a special cart on hand for children who would otherwise outgrow the seat in a typical grocery cart.
Thanks to this new development, Ashley can now take Sophie, her five-year-old daughter, to the grocery store – without having to worry about pushing a grocery cart and a wheelchair at the same time. “As a parent of a child with special needs, you have to make [grocery shopping] an event,” Ashley explained. “I can bring her out into the community, because that’s what she really likes.”
For more information about the cart and how she persuaded Meijer to provide it for her and other families, watch the local coverage by WTOL in Toledo.
Sophie is one of only about 300 people in the world who suffer from Mowat-Wilson Syndrome. Developmentally, Ashley explained, Sophie will always be at a low age-range. At the age of five, she still cannot walk or talk, but Ashley believes that she will eventually develop these skills. “We have to let her set the pace,” she explained.
Mowat-Wilson Syndrome can also cause serious physical problems. Sophie has already undergone open-heart surgery, heart cauterizations, and intestinal surgery, but she still faces the problem of unpredictable seizures. “Once everything else is corrected, if you can get the seizures under control, kids and adults [with Mowat-Wilson Syndrome] usually lead pretty healthy lives.”
While raising Sophie entails challenges and worries, Ashley said that Sophie also brings blessings to her and her husband. “She changes the hearts of everybody she comes into contact with,” Ashley explained. “You can’t be around her and feel that she is not truly a child of God. She’s happy 95 percent of the time, an there’s this innocence that she’ll always have, that nobody can take away.” Sophie also loves people, shares laughter, and enjoys clapping and kicking balls.
Ashley encourages others who come into contact with Sophie not to be afraid to ask questions. “Let your kid come up to me and say, ‘Why does your daughter have braces on her feet?’ because it’s going to make us a more compassionate people, and I think that’s what we need.”
Ashley also believes that her daughter will help to make the world a better place. “Sophie’s going to change the world one heart at a time,” she said. “It’s already happening and she just turned five.”