Nannette and Ched Salasek learned prenatally that their third child would have spina bifida. Ched coped with the news by spending hours online learning everything he could about their baby’s diagnosis. He discovered that doctors at Vanderbilt hospital had pioneered in utero surgery for the repair of spina bifida.
Soon, Nannette was on a plane to Tennessee. The fetal surgery took place at 26 weeks gestation and Nannette returned home on strict bed rest. When Annie was born 10 weeks later, she surprised all the doctors with the extent of the success of the fetal surgery.
Despite the good news, Nannette found herself overwhelmed and paralyzed with fear. An amazing NICU nurse referred her to Raising Special Kids who offered support, guidance, and, most importantly, a connection to another parent who had a child with spina bifida. “When I spoke with her, I just knew I would never be alone in this journey,” Nannette recalls.
Her experience with her parent-to-parent connection would eventually lead Nannette to volunteer to do the same for other parents. By 2009 she had joined the staff at Raising Special Kids in a part-time position facilitating those parent-to-parent connections while she and Ched continued to grow their family.
Once all six of their children were in school, her position expanded to full-time. In 2014 she became a Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker.
Last year, Nannette’s extensive health care knowledge and experience earned her the newly created position of Health Care Systems Administrator for Raising Special Kids. Nannette did not miss a beat when it came to meeting the unforeseen challenges of learning how health care would rapidly evolve during a global pandemic and disseminating that information to the staff at Raising Special Kids.
Our thanks to Nannette for helping Raising Special Kids continue to meet every challenge when serving Arizona families of children with disabilities as we have for more than 40 years.