gmhTODAY 22 gmhToday Oct Nov 2018 - Page 13

A Room For Siena Written By Kimberly Ewertz T ypically, a nine-year-old little girl’s bedroom doesn’t feature wallpaper designed by French artist, Nathalie Lete, depicting an enchanted forest filled with deer, owls, bunnies, birds, frogs, and one regal-looking fox. But then Gilroy’s Siena Arioto is certainly not your typical nine- year-old little girl. The lives of the Arioto family were indelibly changed on June 1, 2016. After four months of countless doctor visits and thirty-four different types of blood tests, Siena, then seven, was officially diagnosed with Friedreich’s Ataxia, (FA), a debilitating degenerative disorder affecting approximately one in 50,000 people in the United States. “Her major symptoms are a loss of energy, and mobility,” Laura Arioto, Siena’s mom, said, adding that in the course of the testing it was discovered that Siena also suffered from nerve damag e, a heart condition, (hypertrophic myopathy, a thickening of the heart wall), and scoliosis—all symptoms of FA. “She has a neurologist, a pulmonologist, a cardiologist, an ophthalmologist, a physical therapist, an occupational therapist and one main doctor who watches her progression and meets with her. He’s the rehab specialist,” Laura said, adding that they are all “amazing.” GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018 13