Happy-Go-Lucky Little Miracle

Gabrielle Smelko

Print this page Bookmark and Share

When 7-year-old Gabrielle Smelko, of Dayton, blew out the candles for her birthday on March 31, her mother, Rachel, realized that after major health complications and slim-to-none chances of survival at birth, celebrating Gabrielle’s healthy life was a wish come true.

Born with a diaphragmatic hernia, as well as needing a Tracheal tube for breathing, a Gtube for feeding and a pacemaker, seeing Gabrielle reach age 7 in good health is a miracle for her family. Without Medicaid to help the family afford health costs, her mother, Rachel, would never have seen her little girl grow.

“Without Medicaid she more than likely wouldn’t have been able to leave the hospital and I would never have her at home with me,” says Rachel. “We just celebrated her seventh birthday, and when I watch her, when I look at her, I see that she’s my own living miracle.”

In school, Gabrielle is the girl on the playground in the middle of the action playing tag with her friends. Every day, Gabrielle is the little girl people meet once and never forget her. But without Medicaid ensuring she receives the six medications and pulmonary pump needed to stay healthy, helping her get the speech, physical and occupational therapy she requires, Gabrielle’s life would be drastically different. Instead of playing with friends on the jungle gym, a lack of Medicaid would have Gabrielle growing up in a hospital.

“If Medicaid wasn’t helping me out, I would never be able to afford to take care of my little girl,” Rachel says. “When Medicaid one time was going to stop paying for a medication, I went to find out the cost and half a month was $240. Some of her prescriptions have to be shipped in which would cost even more than that. There’s no way I could pay for her medication if we didn’t have Medicaid.”

While she still sees doctors at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital annually, and receives therapy at Dayton Children’s throughout the year, today Gabrielle is a healthy 7-year-old girl. Medicaid has helped grant Gabrielle and her family’s wishes by providing her with support throughout her life to beat the odds and overcome her medical conditions.

“When she was first born they said she more than likely wouldn’t survive, and her chances were slim to none,” Rachel says. “Looking at her now, though, you wouldn’t know that. Today she’s great. She’s my healthy, happy-go-lucky little miracle.”

 

 

We believe there are 18 ways we're just right for our region's kids! Learn more and share your story at justrightforkids.org.

Upcoming Events

Wear a red shirt and join community partners walking from Our Lady of the Rosary School to the Kroc Center

Child car seat safety check by certified technicians

Blue Ribbon Nite Gala to support the Child Advocacy Center of Warren County

Join us for this special one night only event to raise money for Dayton Children's! Mingle with several of your favorite Dayton media celebrities including Nancy Wilson and several WHIO-TV personalities. Country Music superstars Maddie & Tae and RaeLynn will be performing live!

View full event calendarView full event calendar

About Dayton Children's

The right care for the right reasons

Accreditations

The Children's Medical Center of Dayton Dayton Children's
The Right Care for the Right Reasons

One Children's Plaza - Dayton, Ohio - 45404-1815
937-641-3000
www.childrensdayton.org