hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

April 12, 2012

Editorial: Kady's 'angels' set an example of friendship and giving

The subject is angels, real life ones.

They are the group of seven close friends of Jill and Eric Giurado who banded together to support the Bradford couple when their daughter Kaydence "Kady" Giurado was born with an ailment that has baffled doctors. (See story on page 1 by Alex Lippa.)

At birth, Kady, now 3, was "like a wooden doll," her limbs stiff and unbending, her father said. She's unable to speak, and a tube provides nourishment because she can't swallow. A badly curved spine presses her internal organs and lungs. Her future is uncertain after many, many tests and more than 230 medical appointments have failed to find a definitive diagnosis, let alone an effective treatment or cure.

Doctors believe Kady is suffering from a form of hyperekplexia, a genetic disorder typically characterized by an exaggerated "startle response" that can cause the muscles to become stiff and unmovable. But the doctors are still searching for answers because Kady has the generalized stiffness, but not the startle response or the missing gene that characterize the disorder.

Despite her physical problems, Kady has brought joy and love to the Giurado family and they to her. She goes to school and loves to watch videos and play with her toys. Her brother, Nicolas, 8, like many an older brother, makes her laugh.

But it's not easy on the family. Kady requires virtually all their attention and resources. Jill Giurado has to quit her job as a nurse because she needed to be home virtually full time. Her husband, a postal carrier, took second and third jobs to help make ends meet.

That's where the angels enter the story.

After Kady was born, the seven close friends formed a group to help support the family, financially and emotionally and in practical ways, like helping with chores and keeping Nicolas occupied.

"They never ask us if they can do things," said Eric Giurado. "They just go ahead and do it."

These angels have names. They are: Mary Boddy, Joelly Helps, Paula McCarthy, Nikki Moriarty, Kandy Pardales, Jessica Prescott and Gwen Zappala.

"We love them and they're a great family," said Pardales. "They are two great people and Kady is an angel. We know how tough it is for them since Jill quit her job and they are living on one income. We just want to do everything we can in our power to help them."

As a society, we have an obligation to aid those in need of help through no fault of our own. But the seven friends have gone behind that collective obligation. Their individual acts of friendship and giving should be an example to all of us.

You can help. The first Kaydence Giurado Golf Classic is May 19 at Bradford Country Club to help raise money for Kady's continuing care. Some corporate and individual sponsors have already stepped forward. You can become an angel, too, by contacting Joelly Helps at kadygiurado@gmail.com or visit http://www.facebook.com/kady0801.