About Isabelle Liberatore

Isabelle Liberatore has been a member of the Women of Grace team for nearly a decade. Her professional career began in the Information Technology industry but after returning to her Catholic faith, she had a deep hunger to work for the Lord. A friend persuaded her to become a volunteer at Living His Life Abundantly, now called Women of Grace. She is currently the Director of Administration and Development and works with volunteers, staff and donors to support the organization’s mission to “transform the world one woman at a time.” Isabelle and her husband of 14 years are both cancer survivors and they have many spiritual children through their work and ministry.

Toddler Born With “Missing” Cerebellum Makes Astonishing Progress

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Journalist

A three year-old boy who was born with key parts of the brain either missing or severely atrophied, the family counts with cerebral palsy attorneys to fight for the rights of the kid and has doctors stumped as he continues to progress far beyond what medical science says a person in his condition should be capable of achieving.

According to AOL News, Chase Britton was born prematurely three years ago, and is legally blind. He was a year old when suspicions of cerebral palsy caused doctors to perform an MRI on his brain. What they found was astonishing.

Chase appeared to have no cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls motor skills, balance and emotions. He also appeared to be missing his pons, the part of the brain stem that controls basic functions such as sleeping and breathing. The brain scans showed only fluid where the cerebellum and pons should have been.

“That’s when the doctor called and didn’t know what to say to us,” said Heather Britton in a telephone interview with AOL from her home in New York. “No one had ever seen it before. And then we’d go to the neurologists and they’d say, ‘That’s impossible.’ ‘He has the MRI of a vegetable,’ one of the doctors said to us.”

But Chase is not a vegetable at all. Despite the doctor’s dismal prognosis, Chase is managing to do many things that he shouldn’t be able to do without a cerebellum – such as sit up on his own and crawl. Now he’s even learning how to walk.

“He keeps going,” his mom said. “He keeps picking up new things and progressing. We call it, ‘Chase pace.’”

“There are some very bright, specialized people across the country and in Europe that have put their minds to this dilemma and are continuing to do so, and we haven’t come up with an answer,” Dr. Adre du Plessis, chief of Fetal and Transitional Medicine at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., told Fox News affiliate WGRZ.

“So it is a mystery.”

Even more baffling is the fact that Heather had several ultrasounds during her pregnancy and the images clearly show that Chase had a cerebellum at one time.

“That is actually a fundamental part of the dilemma,” du Plessis told WGRZ. “If there was a cerebellum, what happened to it?”

Doctors have found no signs of a brain bleed, hemorrhage or stroke, and no damage to any other part of his brain, Britton said. Technically, his diagnosis is cerebellar hypoplasia, which normally means a small cerebellum rather than a missing one.

Some doctors, such as Steven Novella, M.D., assistant professor of Neurology at Yale University School of Medicine and author of the popular NeuroLogica blog, say Chase’s cerebellum is more than likely atrophied to the point of not being easily visible on an MRI scan. He believes there is probably a remnant there, which explains why the child has the capacity that he does.

“The pons also cannot be missing,” Dr. Novella writes. “That’s like saying someone’s neck is missing. It is just atrophied – perhaps the ventral pons is missing or atrophied.”

From what he could see from videos, Chase’s degree of neurological function appears to be in line with these anatomical deficits. “He can move, but he has very poor coordination. He walks with a walker, and does not seem to have the balance to walk without assistance. He is also legally blind.”

Dr. Novella believes the most amazing part of Chase’s story has more to do with how well he is able to function with his limitations.

” . . .  (W)e can be uplifted by the courage and strength of Chase’s parents, who seem to be meeting this challenge with optimism and a very productive ‘can do’ attitude,” he writes.

His parents have indeed created an optimal environment for Chase. They are providing him with specialized education, a team of therapists that have been working with him since he was an infant, and a special “sensory room” at home which is full of lights and sounds and tactile things — like mirrors — to visually stimulate him. They are also planning to begin horseback-riding therapy.

“We’re throwing as much at him as possible to make sure he’s as stimulated as possible,” she explained.

“He’s happy. We call him the Little Gremlin. He loves to play tricks on people. He loves to sing. His goal in life is to make people smile. He’s got so much love around him. We’re an extremely happy family. His story is not tragic.”

Her message to other parents who might be experiencing medical challenges with their children is “don’t give up on your kids” and “don’t believe everything the doctors say” because “they can be wrong.”

“People could view this as a tragic story. But that depends on how you look at life. You can be angry or you can appreciate what you have been given,” she said.

“Chase was meant to be with us.”

© All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®  http://www.womenofgrace.com

Storehouse of blessings

May 24
“The Holy Rosary is the storehouse of countless blessings.“
-Our Lady to Blessed Alan de la Roche
Today’s Reflection
What blessings have unfolded in my life due to my adherence to the Rosary?

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Ground to dust

May 22
“I would like to be ground to dust for the Immaculate Virgin and have the dust be blown away by the wind all over the world.”
–St. Maximilian Kolbe
Today’s Reflection
How can I, like St. Maximilian Kolbe, allow myself to be dust that’s blown all over my piece of the world?

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Behave like a soldier

May 21
 “Each time that my enemy would provoke me to combat, I behave as
a gallant soldier.”
– St. Thérèse of Lisieux
Today’s Reflection
How do you behave as a gallant soldier when the enemy provokes you?

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The eyes of Christ

May 18

“When we gaze into the eyes of Christ with the eyes of our heart, we begin to see things as they truly are. Under His gaze of love our prayer begins to resonate with the will of the Father.”

–Dr. Anthony Lilles


Today’s Reflection

How can I gaze more deeply into the eyes of Christ?

Path of contemplation

May 17
“The Rosary should always be seen and experienced as a path of contemplation.”
–Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 38
Today’s Reflection
In what ways is the Rosary a path of contemplation?

Praying hands

“Throughout the years of mothering my brood of five, I often resorted to my ten fingertips to count my Hail Marys when the task I was immersed in did not allow for holding the beads.”
– Donna Marie Cooper O’Boyle
Today’s Reflection
How simple it is to say the Rosary, as all it takes is a hand of ten fingers! How can I incorporate this simple, yet profound prayer, into my daily life?

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May 9
“It is not permissible for anyone to remain idle.”
-Christifidelis Laici, 3
Today’s Reflection
How can you become more engaged in the life of the Church and your Christian faith?

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Say the Rosary Every Day

May 7

“Say the Rosary, to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war.”

– Our Lady of Fatima to the children at Fatima


Today’s Reflection

Our Lady of Fatima asked us to pray the rosary for peace in the world. Why is her message more relevant today than ever before? How does this enliven your commitment to praying the Rosary every day?

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Pray your Rosary

May 6

“A priest without a Rosary is like a knight without a sword. With this heavenly weapon, a priest can defeat falsehood, conquer evil, and win innumerable souls for Jesus Christ!”

– Fr. Donald Calloway


Today’s Reflection

Pray your Rosary today for the priesthood. Ask Our Lady to increase their fervor this powerful heavenly weapon.

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