Having adopted two girls already, Donny and Sarah Mickow of Rochester wanted to add one more to their family.
In 2014 they adopted Olivia from China, knowing she would need a little extra care. Having the Mayo Clinic in their "backyard" put them at ease, but Olivia’s diagnosis requires a lot more than just frequent checkups and care.
This past December, Olivia was diagnosed with having a life-threatening interstitial lung disease. The specific type is still unknown.
"Her diagnosis on the paperwork was complex disease," said Sarah Mickow, Olivia’s mother. "We didn’t know exactly what it was, we just knew she was very small and that she had some different delays."
Her condition turned out to be more complicated than they expected.
"It became apparent that she had some problems breathing and over the next year we discovered that she had some severe lung disease," said Mickow. "We know that her lungs are scarred and that’s not a situation that’s going to recover."
Olivia is now relying on oxygen 24 hours a day to breathe. It comes from a portable liquid oxygen canister carried in a special backpack.
"We had this especially made for her," said Mickow. "A friend of a work colleague, who’s a very good seamstress, adapted a regular backpack so that we could fit her oxygen in and have the cannula going through the top. It works really well for her right now."
While it gets her though the day, the portable liquid tank needs to be re-filled every six hours from a large non-portable reservoir at home.
This means the family can’t go very far without renting an expensive piece of equipment, which is why they need help.
Even without that device, mom says Olivia is a fighter.
"She’s taught us so much about what’s important in life, about the value of life, about resilience. She has overcome so many obstacles and she continue to fight to have a good life."
On Saturday, July 21st there will be a pancake breakfast at Emmanuel Baptist Church, 2911 18th Avenue NW in Rochester from 8:30-11 a.m.
The goals is to raise money for a portable oxygen concentrator, which can cost up to $3,000 and is not covered by insurance.