Anthony Petrello and her wife Cynthia had a daughter eight years of age, and she was suffering from periventricular leukomalacia (PVL). This is a common neurological disease that attacks infants who are born prematurely. Cerena was her name and was born 24 weeks early with a weight of about 20 ounces only. She was diagnosed with the disease which is usually caused by lack of enough oxygen or flow of blood to the brain. Cerena developed cerebral palsy and several other delay issues in body and skills development.
At the age of 8, her parents Cynthia and Tony would say they were experiencing miracles since she was able to chew and swallow some solid foods. Cynthia expresses her delight by saying that it is a miracle she has always waited for so long, for her daughter to capture it in her brain, master it and finally do it. Another development that Cerena was achieving was learning how to walk as well as talking, and her parents were grateful for the strength and the determination they have carried all along to see this happen. Source: http://blogs.marketwatch.com/thetell/2014/05/27/why-nabors-ceo-wont-top-best-paid-bosses-list-again-in-2014/
Cynthia and Tony had no thought that such a thing would happen in their life or the struggles they would face after it happens and their daughter’s sickness significantly moved them. Anthony Petrello and his wife dedicated their wealth to lead a fundraising campaign directed to help carry out an outstanding research on the disease. They took the initiative and devoted themselves by donating $5 million totaling to a $7million commitment.
Cynthia says it can be very perplexing and devastating for parents because you certainly would not get to know the signs that you will get a child suffering the disease until you give birth. She says even though they were always able to fix their issues there were not ready for this, and maybe they would have a better plan already put in place to handle it, but they brought it to their knees.
Anthony Petrello has been the President and Chief Executive Officer of Nabors Industries, a company that tops in providing drilling services in the world. He is also an active member of the Texas Children’s Hospital Board of Trustees. Tony Petrello says that they were able to investigate most pediatric research institutions such as Johns Hopkins, UCLA, and Harvard in the country and other parts of the world. From the encounter with different people, he realized that there are parents who have even tried stem cells or any other procedure that would assist their children to walk or utter a word. He says that if an intensive research gets conducted, a difference could be achieved. He also pointed out that there is so much research on brain damage for adults and nothing for kids.
The couple took the loophole as an opportunity and started taking their daughter and other children suffering like her at the backyard of Texas Children’s Hospital. They were determined to launch the NRI so that all these kids could reach their potential one day. Tony said they are receiving support and encouragement from friends and family and believes there is some light at the end of the tunnel.
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