Gabriella's Story

Gabriella Asadi uses every part of her 8-year-old self to express her creativity – her hands are meant for drawing, her arms are meant for hugging, and her feet are meant for dancing.

“Gabriella is very artistic,” her mom, Adamaris Delgado, says. “She loves to do crafts, to paint, to make something out of nothing. She won’t let me throw away cardboard – she makes it into a car seat or a stroller for her dolls.”

Last year, Gabriella began taking dance lessons. Tap, ballet and jazz gave her new ways to express her joy for life. She performs for others as much as for herself – she just loves to see her mom’s face break into a happy smile.

Recently, that smile was out of focus for Gabriella.

“She started complaining of headaches and telling me that she can’t see the board at school,” her mother said.

Just as she was considering what to do, Delgado received a letter in the mail, offering help right in her own backyard.

Penn State Health coordinated an effort to bring the Vision to Learn mobile eye clinic to the Steelton-Highspire School District so that children like Gabriella and her 9-year-old brother Xavier, who found out he needs reading glasses, could get free exams and glasses.

“I read the letter and thought, ‘This is exactly what I need!’” Delgado said.

Nancy Mesko, optician with Vision to Learn, holds a mirror in front of Gabriella, whose image in seen in the mirror as she checks how a pair of glasses look on her face. Mesko has short hair and glasses and wears a T-shirt with a Vision to Learn logo on it.
Nancy Mesko, an optician with Vision to Learn, shows Gabriella what she looks like with glasses in the mobile eye clinic.

Less than a week later, Gabriella was inside the van, getting a vision test and picking colorful frames for the lenses that would give her back the sight she needs to keep on creating the things she loves.

Now, when Gabriella does a split leap or a plié on stage, she can see her mom and brother cheering her on from the front row.

“Gabriella is so excited,” her mom says. “Penn State Health changed her life and my life too – because when my daughter is happier, I am happier.” This is the health Gabriella needs to live the way she wants.