The Medicaid program will pick up Daniel for his appointments and therapies at Baptist Hospital in Kendall and Joe DiMaggio in Hollywood, but since there are other children on the route, if Daniel has a 10 a.m. appointment, the van arrives at the Wong home at 7 a.m. and he is not brought home until 5 p.m. which stresses the family — and Daniel.
Taxed by the long day away from home and family, “he fusses and cries,” Sandra says.
“It’s really challenging. My oldest daughter helps out, but with the economy, things are so bad she’s looking to get another job so it will be really hard for me to make the appointments and his appointments take the whole day,” Sandra says. “It has been pretty hard to take care of Daniel. He looks pretty healthy but he could go downhill very fast between life and death. He has had over 48 hospitalizations, many pneumonias. Even though he has a feeding machine, he still sometimes aspirates. Any kind of sickness can send him overboard.”
Shelley Gottsagen, development and community relations manager for the Center for Independent Living of South Florida, nominated Daniel for Wish Book.
The Wongs are “generous in both volunteering time in the community and adopting several children with and without disabilities and blending them into a loving family,” said Gottsagen, who added that the family “has a beautiful spirit of giving and supporting each other.”
Daniel’s a survivor. He was born in January 1993, about four months after Andrew, and he’s every bit a Wong.
“We were still living in a trailer and [the Department of Children and Families] needed a home for him to come to and he had nowhere to go so we took him,” Sandra says, smiling. “We don’t know how to say ‘No!’ ”
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