Very Special Angels - Our Story
"Wow Twins, God has chosen us to be parents of
two special babies."
These were David and Dana’s first thoughts after hearing
they were having twin girls.
They were soon to realize how very special these twin girls would
Cassidy Marie and Skylar Anne were born on March 7, 1997,
to David and Dana Swanson of Richmond Hill, Georgia. Cassidy
and Skylar weighed in at a healthy 7lb.1oz and 5lb.13 oz.
But at two months, mother’s intuition led Dana to believe
something was very wrong. She was worried about their head
control and their low muscle tone. At 5 months, after many
doctors’ visits, the family received the devastating
news that the girls had Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) type
1, also known as Werdnig Hoffmann’s Disease.
Imagine hearing the news your beautiful daughters have this
disease called SMA and not having any idea what that meant.
Their worst nightmare began to unfold.
"SMA – Number One Genetic Killer of Children
SMA – your daughters will die before the age of two."
SMA – your daughters will never sit or walk."
SMA – no cure or known treatment."
" SMA - take them home and wait."
The family immediately started searching for help with this relatively
unknown disease. They soon realized this was not going to be an
easy task. There seemed to be no hope and no answers to their many
questions. Cassidy and Skylar’s grandmother (Anne Meguiar)
began searching the Internet for doctors somewhere who held the
knowledge that they so desperately needed. After hundreds of hours
on the Internet they found the answers they were looking for. To
their surprise, there were researches all over the world aggressively
searching for a treatment and a cure.
Their first trip was to Cincinnati, Ohio to talk with doctors
who were beginning the first drug trials ever for SMA. These doctors
gave the family the hope they needed to begin their fight for Cassidy
and Skylar. Their next mission took them to Newark, New Jersey
to meet with one of the nation’s leading pulmonary doctors,
Dr. John Bach. A child with SMA’s biggest threat to life
is respiratory complications. Dr. Bach was aggressively working
with the special respiratory needs of these children. In their
first two years of life the girls have traveled by plane, helicopter,
jet and train as a result of the family’s desperate search
for help. They are very grateful to the many caring people who
have been willing to go that extra mile to help.
Despite the obstacles Cassie and Skylar must face each day, they
enjoy life to it’s fullest. They enjoy the same activities
as other two-year-olds; they just require help in doing them. They
love swimming. In the water they don’t have the pull of gravity
and can move their arms and kick their legs. They love flying through
the air in their hammock and riding in their wagons outdoors. They
are very smart and eager to learn and work on their computer daily.
Blues Clues, Elmo, Disney movies, books, and puzzles are also favorites.
Without a doubt Shania Twain is their favorite singer. They especially
like "Man I feel Like a Woman" and sing along to the
part "Uh, Uh, Oh". Their grandpa (Ricky Meguiar) wanted
to make sure they heard all the classics and introduced them to
the Righteous Brothers and the Blues. These girl's enthusiasm for
life is contagious and their determination is truly inspiring.
Cassidy and Skylar defied the odds and celebrated their 9th birthday
in March 2006, at Disney World. Sadly, three months later Cassie
lost her life to this deadly disease. Cassie and Skylar's courage
and perseverance have made them true ‘Miracles". They
have taught us a much deeper meaning to life and what unconditional
love is all about. Their compassion, inner strength and courage
have inspired us to work even harder for a cure or treatment for
SMA. Because of the severity of the disease, we don’t know
what the future holds. As devoted parents, family, and friends
we are determined to do whatever it takes to conquer this devastating
disease. Researchers worldwide have made significant progress to
discover the secrets to a treatment and eventual cure for SMA.
Please get involved and help us in our battle to put an end to
We strongly believe in the Power of Prayer and ask to be remembered
in this special way.