CONROE, Texas (FOX 26) - 12-year-old Isabella "Bella" Harrington from Conroe, Texas, suffers from bilateral clubfoot—a common deformity in children, occurring in about 1 in 1,000 births in the U.S., where the foot is severely twisted and cannot be placed flat on the ground. Isabella is now receiving life-changing medical care to treat her condition far from home in St. Louis, thanks to an organization that's provided her with several free Miracle Flights to get there. "I was so excited to have straight feet and to be able to walk normally," said Isabella.
Isabella was first put into a cast at just two weeks old. Several boots, braces and surgeries followed---always to no avail. Every time Bella grew, her feet relapsed. "I was always self-conscious of my feet, and I wasn’t able to do sports and wear shoes normally. It was hard, "added Bella.
Last fall, Bella’s mom, Virginia, learned about renowned clubfoot specialist Dr. Matthew Dobbs at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. The family drove 16 hours to take Bella for her consultation. Dr. Dobbs' recommended treatment required once a month for the next six months---requiring the family to make the 1,500-mile round-trip journey every few weeks. "It’s amazing. I’m able to do things I was never able to do before," said Bella.
The cost of so much back-and-forth travel adds up quickly and could have made treatment for Bella cost-prohibitive. But Bella and Virginia were grateful to have assistance from The Astellas USA Foundation. The foundation made certain that the Harringtons get to every appointment for free by lending its support to national medical flight charity Miracle Flights.