Bayhealth's smallest therapist Jack is shown working with 8-year old Lyndsey Warnick (Photo: WBOC)
DOVER, Del.- Bayhealth Medical Center's smallest therapist is making news.
His name is Jack. He weighs 30 pounds and stands 13 inches tall.
One of his jobs is to help 8-year old Lyndsey Warnick overcome obstacles with her disorder.
Warnick was diagnosed with DiGeorge's Syndrome. It's a disorder caused by a chromosome 22 defect, that leads to poor development of different body systems.
"We went through sicknesses back and forth and then she seemed to always get sick on the holidays. Sometimes we'd be able to get in Thanksgiving dinner and then hit the road to go back to the hospital," said Robin Warnick," Lyndsey's mother.
The syndrome is normally associated with heart defects, poor immune system function, a cleft palate, complications related to low levels of calcium in the blood and behavioral disorders. According to a National Institute of Health study, prevalence is estimated at 14.1 affected patients per 100,000 live births.
For Lyndsey, eating and speaking have been a challenge.
"When we brought her home our goal to have a piece of her first birthday cake and it didn't happen, so we just kept thinking, maybe next year, maybe next year," said Robin Warnick.
"The open heart surgery and other things seem like a distant past now. The feeding part (doctors) said would be he biggest struggle for us and it literally has been," said Allan Warnick, Lyndsey's father.
The Warnick's started coming to Bayhealth's Outpatient Rehabilitation Center in Dover.
That's where they met Jack, Bayhealth's smallest therapist.
Jack is a 2-year old Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Jack and his trainer Kayleigh Karnbach, a Physical Therapy Aide and Registrar, come to the center twice a week to work with patients.
The certified therapy team participated in workshops together that focused on behavior, demeanor, and communication.
"Just in the last 30 days we've seen her try and chew different things that I don't think we would have ever gotten her to try without Jack being here," said Jennifer Crouse, speech pathologist at Bayhealth Outpatient Rehabilitation Center who has worked with Lyndsey.
Jack has been encouraging Lyndsey to eat solid foods.
"We would love for Lyndsey to be able to eat all of her foods by mouth and enjoy foods with her friends and her family and not have to depend on that tube to get her nutrition," said Crouse.
During Lyndsey's session, Crouse would feed her chopped carrots. As a reward for eating, Lyndsey could feed Jack some cheese.
"It helps her to have something to look forward too. It gives her motivation," said Robin Warnick.
"I think this past year has been just a miracle, seeing her progress and what she can eat now that she couldn't even a year ago. I hope someday I get to see her eat a piece of birthday cake," said Allan Warnick.
The Warnick's are also hoping to connect with other families who have children diagnosed with DiGeorge's Syndrome.
"You wish that you had somebody going through the same thing with you, so you could bounce ideas off of one another," said Robin Warnick.
For now, the Warnick's couldn't be happier at watching their little girl make progress with Jack by her side.
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