Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

September 11, 2013

Innovative Rehab Solutions

(Continued)

VALDOSTA — A child’s battle

Halia Strickland is a vivacious 10-year-old who’s not afraid to tell you her opinion, especially when it comes to medicine.

“Awful!” she says, when discussing the chemotherapy or the many pills she’s had to take in the last five years.

Elena Strickland, Halia’s mother, said up until four years ago, she was a very healthy child. However, in August of 2009, when Halia was 6, her fingertips turned blue, a condition called Raynauds’ syndrome.

“We took her to her pediatrician, and he didn’t know what was causing it. He started her on steroids but a couple of months later, her fingertips became necrotic and they fell off,” said Elena.

After taking Halia to numerous physicians and spending several weeks at the Medical College of Georgia facility in Augusta, she was ultimately diagnosed with Schleroderma, a chronic disease; its most visible symptom is hardening of the skin.

“The disease is progressive, and as her skin hardened, it was drawing up her arms and legs. She has to have therapy so she can move and stretch,” Elena said. “If she didn’t have therapy, she’d get much worse and her skin would get tighter.”

The aqua therapy in the pool is Halia’s favorite part as she said it feels good and relaxes her and she loves the staff at Innovative Rehab.

Halia’s father, Michael, said she has been to several therapists, but Mohanty has been the best for her and the family owes him a great deal.

“The water therapy really helps her, and even when Medicaid said they were going to reduce the number of visits she was allowed, he kept treating her because he really cares about her well being,” Michael said.

Elena said other therapists were much rougher on Halia but Mohanty is very gentle.

“She’s never been uncomfortable coming here, even when she’s hurting,” Elena said. "He does what she needs and will benefit her, not just what Medicaid will pay for.”

Scleroderma is a lifelong condition but she could stabilize, get worse or get better. According to her mother, Halia has a 5 percent chance that it could go away completely.

Michael and Elena are homeschooling Halia and her sister, Katie, 11. Both are at the sixth-grade level as Halia skipped the fifth grade. Both parents work and share homeschooling duties, with Michael smiling and referring to Elena as the “principal.”

She has been so inspired by Bikram Mohanty and the work he’s done with Halia that Elena has decided to continue her education and become an occupational therapist, too. He recommended her to a program in Atlanta where she will attend master’s level classes every other weekend so she can be home with her family.

One of the most challenging aspects of the disease is that Halia has a difficult time gaining weight.

“She’s gotten taller but she weighs less than she did several years ago. She can eat anything and we encourage her to eat whatever she wants.”

Halia’s preference? “Anything with sugar in it!” And her favorite food? “Cookie dough or cookies and cream ice cream.”

Text Only
Local News
  • Baytree Animal Hospital LB copy.JPG Animal hospital named Business of the Week

    Baytree Animal Hospital was named Leading Business of the Week by the  Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce for July 14.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gavel-courtroom.jpg Water treatment plant discussed

    The Lowndes County Board of Commissioners discussed purchasing two pieces of equipment for the Alapaha Water Treatment Plant and the Spring Creek System for a total of $1,638,000 during its Monday work session and is expected to vote on the issue tonight.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • education.jpg Charter school petition denied

    Both the Valdosta City and Lowndes County school boards unanimously denied the joint charter petition from Scintilla Charter Academy during their respective meetings Monday evening.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • echols_alapapa.jpg WWALS gets grant from river network

    The Willacoochee, Withlacoochee, Alapaha, and Little River Systems Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS) received a $500 Alapaha Water Trail Grant from the Georgia River Network

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140718-ARJim2.jpg Teacher at home anywhere in the world

    Variety is the spice of life. South Georgia is home to a diverse group of people, each with a unique life story. One man with glorious tales of travel and selfless volunteer work is Jim Kokoruda.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • fire2a.jpg Blaze damages North Lowndes home

    Lowndes County Fire Rescue responded to a fire call Sunday at 3756 Cross Creek Circle near Bemiss Road.

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • 140719-KidsInc3 copy.jpg Kids get a taste of retail operations

    Valdosta Mall shoppers may have noticed a few additional shopping options Saturday as they walked through center court.
    Children ranging in age from 6 to 15 years old set up booths and sold products to consumers.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140719-UnseenProject7 copy.jpg CrossPointe welcomes ‘Unseen’ travelers home

    CrossPointe Church members gathered Saturday to greet their pastor and fellow congregationalists returning from a filmed two-month-long motorcycle trip across the nation and back.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • election.jpg Runoff set for Tuesday

    Advanced voting ended Friday for the runoff election from the May 20 primary.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Modern Woodmen RC copy.JPG Woodmen welcomed to Valdosta

    The The Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce and its Ambassadors welcomed the Valdosta chapter of Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, July 15.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

School starts again in about two weeks. What do you think?

It's still summer. School starts too soon.
Seems like the right time to return.
Abolish summer recess. Make school year-round.
     View Results