Samantha and Jake Lazazzaro
Samantha and Jake are sister and brother who have been recently diagnosed with Cockayne Syndrome Type II. Their age expectancy is only between 4 and 7 years old. Samantha is 6 and Jake is 2 1/2. Sam and Jake were both born with cataracts and had their lenses surgically removed when they were only 5 weeks old. They have both worn contact lenses so they can see since they were 3 months old. Last December Samantha had two more surgeries to implant lenses in her eyes so she no longer needs to wear contacts, just glasses for correction. Samantha demands constant attention, while Jake can play independently. Both Samantha and Jake are very loving children. Jake is always smiling and laughing. Samantha is constantly giving kisses to anyone who will accept a kiss on their forehead. They both go to special schools, which they love very much (they both have the title of "mayor" in their schools!)
Cockayne Syndrome is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by developmental delays, tremors, failure to thrive and loss of major milestones. Samantha started walking at 18 months but lost that ability at 3 1/2 years old. She can not even get to a standing position by herself any more. She can walk with the help of her walker, but she has suffered from severe tremors since she was 2 1/2, which are getting progressively worse. The tremors make it impossible for her to do much without assistance. She is unable to feed herself without help because she shakes so bad she drops whatever is on her spoon before it can get to her mouth. She loves to play in her kitchen but is so unsteady that she usually drops all of her toys and she is unable to get them herself. She is currently on her 5th medication for her tremors as well as medication to help her sleep and for reflux. She has been through countless blood tests, MRIs, EEGs before she was finally diagnosed with CS. Neither Samantha nor Jake can speak but a few words. Jake is still able to walk so far and hasn't started tremoring yet, but he is very delayed.
Samantha and Jake are two of the most loving children you will ever know. Their smiles are infectious and their laughter contagious! They have taught me as well as most people who have been lucky enough to meet them what is important in life. I am truly honored to be their mom and I have become a better person because of their love.
Tax deductible donations can be sent to:
(100 percent of the funds collected for this outreach c/o The Samantha and Jake Fund will go to Samantha and Jake)
ATDC / Angela’s House
PO Box 5052Hauppauge, NY 11788