Before Dashiel was born, Alissa had expected her son to be hospitalized for two weeks. Because “Dash” had congenital heart defects along with Down syndrome, she wanted him to have the best care — even if it meant driving two hours from her home in the Hudson Valley to NewYork-Presbyterian’s Upper East Side Manhattan campus and the NYP Komansky Children's Hospital. But after Dash underwent surgery to place a shunt into his pulmonary artery, leading to his aorta, to make sure he had enough oxygenated blood going into his lungs, he suffered troubled breathing and dangerously high fevers. Two weeks turned into six months, making the hospital the only home he’d ever known.
The family endured their greatest challenges with help from a broad community of caregivers, from the friends and family who watched the kids to the nurses who loved and cared for Dash like Alissa did.