We are the Vasquez Family, Matthew, Shana, Lila, Hazeleah, and Aimree. We are a retired military family with 14 moves under our belt and have planted roots finally in Georgia. Every family has a mantra, ours is “Embrace your Differences; you need to find strength in them.” Aimree was born October 1, 2010 in Kalamazoo MI. We knew she had a limb difference before her birth. But we soon found out there was more to come. Aimree was deemed, failed to thrive because she was not able to gain weight because every time she would try to eat she would turn blue. That led to her first surgery, choanal atresia. They had to remove bone that was blocking her airway. At the same time, she was diagnosed with Pulmonary stenosis. That led us to a geneticist, revealing Aimreee had a genetic condition. She has a genetic translocation between chromosomes 7 and 9 as well as partial trisomy of chromosome 7. That left us with more questions and not real answers. So a new journey began; enjoy the now, and find the joy. Aimree has been diagnosed with multiple other conditions to include, right upper partial hemimelia, systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis, simple partial seizure with autonomic dysfunction, tonic-clonic seizures, autism, ADHD, and severe mental impairment. Aimree does OT, PT Speech and ABA multiple times a week along with an infusion every other week to keep her moving. Aimree has a way of finding the joy every day. Her laugh is infectious and she can light up a room. She can also bring the crazy and you just never know what you are going to get.
Aimree’s two sisters, Lila (15) and Hazeleah (11) are amazing. They both care and look out for their younger sister. Lila is a very talented artist. Lila has a life-threatening peanut allergy that has shaped who she is today. She has endured bullying and mistreatment because of people’s ignorance and unkindness. She has weathered the storm and has come out stronger because of it. She is winning the battle over depression and anxiety every day. Her strength and willingness to fight is inspiring.
Hazeleah is a force to be reckoned with. She was born 30 and is a judge in the making. She protects and defends her sisters with such passion it is breathtaking. She is an advocate at heart. Her determination for justice and equality is remarkable. I see her in her jugudal robe banging her gavel saying, “Order in the courtroom!”
Being a family with a special needs child has its challenges. The feeling that your family is always divided is heartbreaking as a mom. I try so hard to have balance and know it’s the key but it can be overwhelming at times. I focus on trying to make sure everyone gets what they need. Aimree demands much of our time and energy. Because of medical appointments and sometimes dictating the day because of how she is feeling that day. I know her sisters are better people because of Aimree. They see people in a different way. Not focusing on what is different about someone. But finding the similarity. As a family we try to make the best of our time together which we learned from being a military family for years. Embrace the good and find the joy and make your day count.
Gift: Custom Tandem bicycle
Given: December 2020
Location: Hamilton, Georgia