She Was 5 Days Old When A Baby Nurse Gave Her Brain Injuries. Now Her Dad's Built Her A School.

This is quite the story of hope.


Five days after she was born, Sarah Jane's life was changed forever.

Her father said:

"She was violently shaken by our baby nurse. The abusive head trauma, broke four ribs, both collar bones, she lost about 60% of the rear cortex of her brain."

The cerebral cortex is known as the outer covering of gray matter over the human brain. The back part of the brain includes the parietal lobe, the occipital lobe, and the temporal lobe.


Those sections of the brain are responsible for several things, like feeling pain, the sense of touch, and language ability.

So losing 60% of the cortex covering that area is going to impact a person's ability to function a lot.

Thanks to her baby nurse's abuse, Sarah Jane would never walk or talk again — or so her doctor said.

Sarah Jane cannot walk without an aid and has underdeveloped motor and speech functions.

Even worse, the state of New York didn't have any schools to help out kids with injuries like Sarah Jane's.

It could've been incredibly easy for any parent to lose hope over a daughter like Sarah Jane from ever getting better.

Rather than give up, Sarah Jane's father decided to take things into his own hands.

And that's how iHope came to life.

While we don't know whether or not Sarah Jane and other kids like her can ever fully recuperate from their brain injuries, the fact that they're at least improving even the littlest bit from the therapy is something to celebrate.

But we need to remember — this isn't just about Sarah Jane's story.

The real issue here is that there are many other kids who need these sort of educational and therapeutic resources and don't have them. And they deserve those resources.

iHope has helped dozens of children already. Imagine how many thousands of children with brain injuries in the U.S., beyond New York, would benefit from them. This one school is just a piece of the puzzle.

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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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