At just 8 months old, Chelsea knows how to work a crowd. Her pretty smile and gleeful giggle demand immediate attention, but it’s her spunky personality that will ultimately capture your heart. Fondly nicknamed the “little diva,” she has all of her teachers and therapists in the Special Care Nursery wrapped around her little finger.
Chelsea was born with Cystic Fibrosis. Her condition requires breathing treatments with an inhaler and chest therapy, a procedure that involves a series of chest pats on specific areas of her rib cage. She has trouble gaining weight and is susceptible to chronic lung infections and pneumonia which may require lengthy hospital stays. Her fragile condition left Chelsea’s mother worried about leaving her in childcare fulltime—until she visited Penfield. “On my first tour, I saw kids receiving nebulizer and breathing treatments,” recalls Chelsea’s mother. “It seemed like the employees loved the kids so much.”
See Chelsea in action! Watch the video below to learn more about Chelsea at home and at Penfield.
In the few months she’s spent in the Nursery, Chelsea has gained much needed weight and her motor skills have improved. Although she still gets sick and has to spend time in the hospital, her longest hospital stay is usually 5 days as compared to 2 to 3 weeks for other babies her age with Cystic Fibrosis.
Chelsea’s disease is life–long, and her tenacious spirit will continue to help her meet challenges and remain as healthy as possible. But in the Nursery, Chelsea has time to just be a baby. She plays peek-a-boo, cuddles with Nursery staff, has tummy time, and laughs every day with her friends. “Her sickness would have defined her anywhere else,” says her mother. “Here, being a baby to love is the most important.”