When Gaby was a baby, Carol was a student but had to balance studying with traveling twice a week from her town to a larger city, an hour each way, to take her daughter to physical therapy. Despite the difficulties, Gaby’s parents adored her and were determined to give her the best care they could. They even started a blog, #SomosTodosMariaGabriela (“We are all Gaby”).
Since then some things have changed – Gaby’s brother João Miguel was born last year, and her older brother João Gabriel is 5 and going to school. Carol got a scholarship to study to be a nursing technician, but can only attend school on Saturdays when her husband Joselito stays at home with the kids.
Gaby too has changed, her needs becoming more complex as she gets older. The family recently learned that she needs a special thickening agent added to her food to keep her from choking and nutritional supplements. She has a dislocated hip, which will eventually require surgery, and she needs braces to stabilize her limbs. All this costs far more than the 954 reais (about US$ 240) a month stipend they receive for Gaby’s needs that the whole family is living off.
At least one thing has stayed the same. Gaby is utterly and unconditionally adored.
Carol and Joselito spend many of their days petitioning authorities to get the services Gaby needs.
“We are fighting for Gaby’s rights,” Carol said. But the family wants to do much more than that – they want to fight for the rights of all children with Zika syndrome.