Zadian  Palmer
Montgomery County
Feature Story
Superheroes come in all shapes and sizes—even in a four-pound preemie. Zadian Palmer was born early, at just over four pounds, on May 6, 2008. “He had some complications, but he was a fighter,” says his mother, Silvia Rice. “He overcame and was able to come home from the hospital after just a few days.”

But it was just a short time later that some serious health issues really began to surface. At two months old, he stopped breathing. From that point on, he was in and out of the hospital at least half a dozen times with respiratory problems. He also had other underlying health issues, such as migraines, allergies, and lactose intolerance. Eventually, Zadian was diagnosed with severe persistent asthma. With doctors in his hometown of Montgomery unable to control it, he was referred to Children’s of Alabama and Dr. Wynton Hoover, a pediatric pulmonologist. Dr. Hoover and the team of doctors at Children’s put together a plan to improve Zadian’s asthma, which includes a daily inhaler and Xolair injections. “It took some time to get the right medications in place, we had to go through a few different types, but the doctors didn’t give up or settle,” Silvia says. “They kept working with Zadian to find what would best control the asthma.”

The injections require Zadian to visit the hospital every four weeks. While at first the injections were scary to him, his positive attitude and the staff at Children’s eased his fears. “He was so afraid of needles, but he wants to get better so he put on a brave face and overcame the fear,” Silvia says. “And the staff at Children’s helps make him so comfortable. I can’t say enough about them. He gets to see familiar faces every time we go in, and they constantly reeducate him on his medications to make sure he understands how to use them to optimize his health. They go above and beyond with him—down to making sure they have the Band-Aids he likes.”

After a few months of the injections, Zadian is making progress, even participating with his local football team, the Seminoles. While it’s still an uphill battle, the injections are making a difference. But what’s not changing: Zadian’s positive attitude. “He has such a positive attitude that a lot of times I get my strength from him,” Silvia says. “This journey hasn’t been easy for Zadian, and as a parent you wish you could make it all better and you can’t. But he maintains his positivity and just keeps fighting through.”