"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...
It's about learning to dance in the rain."
The Fearless Angel Project
The Fearless Angel Project was established by Izabela O’Brien (Mrs. Connecticut America 2015 & Mrs. Connecticut America 2017) in honor of her oldest daughter, Alina O’Brien. Alina was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified (“PDD-NOS”) in 2007. Izabela and her husband Dan were fortunate to have the resources to provide their daughter with the educational opportunities, therapeutic and biomedical treatments necessary for Alina to live a happy and rewarding life. Izabela realized along this journey that there are thousands of families of children with autism and developmental disorders who struggle every day to pay for similar services. She also quickly noticed that the therapists, teachers and physicians in this field were relentless in helping her daughter and called them Alina’s fearless angels. Her primary objective is to provide families with a place to turn when they are in need of support and autism resources for additional funding through scholarship awards in conjunction with fundraisers and generous donors.
Alina was born in 2004 and up until the age of 18 months she seemed to be developing normally and on target with developmental milestones. Then the O’Briens noticed a shift in Alina; she seemed to be regressing. She went from direct eye contact and smiles to hyper focusing on objects and the natural smiles eventually diminished. At the age of two and a half she was diagnosed with PDD-NOS. Alina immediately began a rigorous daily schedule of therapies including: ABA, speech therapy, OT, music therapy, hippotherapy in addition to a biomedical approach of specific diet and supplements. The majority of these therapies were only partially covered by insurance and majority at an out of pocket cost to the family. Izabela believed and continues to believe that there was no price limit in helping her daughter achieve the best quality of life available and would never give up.
Alina continues to progress developmentally and is blessed to have two neuro-typical younger sisters (Yvette and Ireland) who play the role of fearless angels as well. She enjoys swimming, drawing, horseback riding and ice skating. She loves family vacations and dining out with her family; as long as the meals are gluten and casein free. Alina communicates well verbally although this fluctuates depending on the day. Alina attends an amazing school for children with learning differences and her progress thanks to therapy, biomedical interventions and her team of fearless angels continues to inspire all that know her.