Molly McGovern from Blauvelt is a 2016 graduate of Tappan Zee High School and is currently attending Rockland Community College, studying early childhood education. When Molly was 14 months old, she was diagnosed with a pineoblastoma, a type of malignant brain tumor. She had surgery to remove the tumor and then had chemotherapy with autologous stem cell rescue. She made a full recovery. Early in 2016, Molly began experiencing headaches. An MRI showed that she had a large mass pressing on her brainstem. Surgery performed on May 13, 2016 was able to remove 90% of the tumor, which was diagnosed as a benign meningioma. Molly recovered from surgery and was able to attend her senior prom and graduate on time with her class. The remaining tumor was treated with gamma knife radiation in July. The tumor, surgery, and radiation has left Molly with some paralysis in her face, hearing, etc… Molly will need to receive services to help her recover what she has lost and constant surveillance by her doctors to check for tumor regrowth. This can be costly on top of the surgical and radiation costs she has already received. Molly continues to be an inspiration to her classmates and others in the community who have needed help.
Noah Diaz, from Congers, is 5 years old and the youngest of 5 children. He was born with a severe heart condition, Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and Double Aortic Arch and already has had three open heart surgeries. Noah also has a rare genetic syndrome, Kabuki, with developmental delays, generalized hypotonia and hypoglycemia episodes. As a result, Noah requires extensive medical treatments. He has monthly EKG s to monitor his heart as Noah will possibly need a heart transplant when he is older. Given the condition of his heart, even a simple cold can require oxygen treatments and doctor visits. Noah also goes to extensive therapies: physical, occupational, and speech to help with his development and muscle tone. With all his health issues, Noah is the happiest, the most loving and the most lovable little boy ever and is an eager kindergartener at Laurel Plains in New City.
Gabriella Carney is a delightful two and a half year old from Tappan who lives with a rare genetic liver disease called Glycogen Storage Disease (GSD). Those with GSD suffer from critically low blood sugar that can drop very quickly and without any warning. Without round the clock management, low blood sugar from GSD can lead to seizures, coma and life threatening issues. Life with GSD means never taking a break and never getting a day off, the risk of low blood sugar is ever present and something as simple as the common cold can become an emergency. Since her diagnosis in September 2015, Gabriella has battled with persistent low blood sugar, multiple hospitalizations and other medical related issues associated with the disease. In order to maintain metabolic control, her parents check Gabriella’s blood sugar and ketones (with a finger stick) no less than 8 times a day and often much more during illness and routine blood testing. She drinks large doses of cornstarch and protein powder every few hours, night and day, to provide her body with the backup source of energy to keep her blood sugar in the safe range. Gabriella goes for yearly liver sonograms and routine blood work every 3 months. Gabriella is the best little sister to her brother Matthew and brings joy every day to her loving family.