Part of what makes ISV such a great organization to be a part of is the dedicated team of staff who motivate and inspire one another inside and outside of work. Irene Imhof, Student Care Director in ISV’s USA office, is one such inspirational individual who is tremendously respected by her peers. Irene has worked tirelessly for ISV since 2005, and any parent or student who has called our USA emergency line over the past many years is likely to have spoken to Irene’s reassuring voice.
As ISV’s mission is to make a positive impact on our world, I thought it appropriate to share this from Irene (below) about a very special foundation that she is part of which impacts children, adults and families in the USA and around the globe. The foundation is called NODCC, which stands for the National Organization for Disorders of the Corpus Callosum.
Disorders of the corpus callosum are conditions in which the corpus callosum (the largest connective pathway in the human brain) does not develop in a typical manner. The corpus callosum is made of more than 200 million nerve fibers that connect the left and right sides (hemispheres) of the brain. Disorders of the corpus callosum are not illnesses or diseases, but abnormalities of brain structure. Many people with these conditions are healthy. Other individuals with the disorder however, may require medical intervention due to seizures and/or other medical problems they have in addition to the disorder of the corpus callosum.
Here’s what Irene shared with me when asked about NODCC:
“My son Anthony and his wife Barb started NODCC when Nate (my grandson) was diagnosed with Hypoplasia of the Corpus Callosum. Not knowing what to do with such a rare disorder they started searching the Internet and found a family in Washington that had started a similar organization and also found some researchers. In 2001 we had our very first NODCC conference at the community center here in Yorba Linda CA. It was quite an undertaking. My friends and I cooked all the food, and friends of ours that were educators ran the child-care. We had 125 members at that time. It was a big deal for us!!
Today the organization has grown so much and now has families all over North America and also internationally. At this years conference in San Antonio we had a family from Melbourne Australia attend and we hit it off with them right away!!! We also had families, from Sweden, New Zealand, Argentina, Guatemala, the UK and Brazil. It is truly amazing where this has gone.
In 2010, the Board of Directors formed the Anthony and Barbara Fonseca Service Award, which was presented to our family. This was quite a surprise and a huge honor. The best part was that Nate was sitting all by himself at our table and we were all on stage. The President of our organization, Jennifer Little, then said “and all of this is because of one little boy “Nathan Fonseca”, then Nate stood up and came on stage where they gave him the award and he held it above his head!!! It was awesome!
The ISV USA office has been a tremendous support. In 2007 we held our conference in Irvine and the entire ISV staff came and volunteered. I was completely overwhelmed by the wonderful support and compassion that the ISV staff shared with all of our NODCC families. The ISV staff often remark on how know Nate and our family have humbled them and made them aware of differences.
Last year in October 2011 we were again very grateful as about 20 ISV Country Coordinators who were in the USA at the time for their annual planning meeting, came in early one Saturday morning, without hesitation and with great organization, to put our “Family First Packs” together to send to our new members. Once again we were humbled by the wonderful and generous support from ISV.
Nate will be 14 this September. He is non-verbal but shares his joy and spirit through his smiles. Needless to say he is a frequent visitor to our office at ISV as the NODCC office is in the same complex here in Yorba Linda. The ISV staff never fail to hug him and make him feel like he is part of our group. The ISV staff also offers support to Nate’s older brother Nicholas, as being a sibling can often be a challenge in itself.
I can’t begin to express the gratitude and love my entire family has for ISV, whether it be a fundraising concert by the Alley Cats or helping us with conference, we know they are all there reaching out and helping in anyway. THANK YOU ISV!!”
Thank YOU Irene. ISV is very fortunate to have you as part of our team and we salute the great work you and your partners at NODCC are doing to benefit others.