In early January 2010, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake literally shook the Caribbean country of Haiti, leaving thousands of people dead and another 1.6 million without homes. The devastating effect of this earthquake, the countys most severe in over 200 years, drew the attention and sympathy of people from all over the world. Many people even made their way to Haiti to help where they could.
Three years after the earthquake, Haiti still hadnt recovered from the terrible disaster. The incredible need of the Haitians still drew the attention of many, including 28-year-old Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist Sarah Conque.
While in graduate school, Sarah felt drawn to Haiti, particularly the children living with disabilities who called the island nation home.
About a year after she arrived in Haiti, she came into contact with Nika, a girl who would change her life.
When Sarah took Nika in, she was eleven months old and weighed just six pounds, half of which was fluid buildup. She was incredibly malnourished and her organs were beginning to shut down. The prognosis didnt look good. An American doctor with whom Sarah had been consulting called her saying, Sarah, she is dying, theres nothing more that you can do for her. Pray for a miracle.
Sarah fought tirelessly for Nika to be seen by the best doctors she could find. She was even able to get Nika a CT scan and a definitive diagnosis: hydranencephaly, a condition in which the brains cerebral hemispheres are to varying degrees absent and replaced with cerebrospinal fluid.
Nika kept defying all the odds and actually seemed to be thriving. So was the relationship between Sarah and Nika; she was even able to become Nikas legal guardian in February 2015!
With this new legal status, Sarah was finally able to get a medical visa for Nika to come to the United States. The incredible duo flew into Florida on May 19, 2015 and had neurosurgery eight days later, where a shunt was implanted to drain extra fluid and relieve swelling and pressure.
Although the process was long and hard, the results of all Sarahs determination and Nikas will to live are phenomenal.
Over two years since meeting Sarah, Nika is practically a whole new baby. Shes beaten the odds and has really earned Sarahs nickname for her, Little Warrior Nika.
Looking back, Sarah recently found something shed written in September of 2014, a month after taking over Nikas care full-time. Nika, you were invisible to those around you for so long. You were mistreated, overlooked, and abandoned by your earthly family, but you were never alone
Now, you are the center of my affection, heart, and prayers. Nika, my soul is tied to your soul forever and ever. You are safe here
You are loved
And that will NEVER change, baby girl!.