Dallas ISD Trustee’s Newborn In Fight of Her Young Life

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As a Dallas ISD school board trustee, Miguel Solis (here shown at a water balloon party at Foster Elementary) has advocated for thousands of children. Now he advocates for one little girl — his daughter, Olivia.

As any parent can tell you, from the first time you discover you’ll be one until well, forever, a huge piece of your heart is never yours alone anymore. And from the first wail in the delivery room — or meeting, in the case of adoption, this phenomenon occurs: that part of your heart is suddenly at its most vulnerable, existing outside your body.

And any parent can tell you, your worst fear is that something will happen that you can’t fix for your child. Dirty diaper? Easily fixed. Forgotten lunch? OK. Shoes that pinch your feet because you’ve had another growth spurt? Let’s go shopping, buddy.

Life-threatening medical emergency? Terrifying.

And yet, that’s what Dallas ISD school board trustee Miguel Solis and his wife, Jacqueline Nortman, are experiencing with their newborn daughter, Olivia.

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Olivia Rene Faith Solis (photo courtesy GoFundMe campaign)

Olivia was born a month ago, and just a couple of days after being born, it was discovered that she had a very serious heart defect (you can read more about their journey here in Corbett Smith’s excellent piece). Olivia has endured surgeries, strokes, and at one point received CPR for more than an hour.

But Olivia is a fighter. Currently, her health is precarious at best, and her mom and dad watch over her in the NICU at Children’s as she fights daily, hourly.

She comes by that tenacity honestly. Her dad, who has been an advocate for thousands of children for several years now, and her mom, a pediatrician, ensured that her genetics overflow with grit and determination.

I know this isn’t the normal real estate-centered post, but we felt like we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Olivia’s struggle.  I know Miguel Solis both personally and professionally — he’s the kind of trustee who will willingly let a couple dozen elementary students pelt him with water balloons, but he’s also the guy who will argue that our most vulnerable students need more effective teaching strategies than suspension.

As his advocacy efforts are currently centered (and rightly so) on one tiny little girl, the only thing he and his wife are asking for an abundance of is prayers. In his Facebook updates, Solis insists that the positive energy that so many have directed Olivia’s way is helping.

Of course, practicality is also an issue. Prayers are invaluable, but a family friend — Social Venture Partners-Dallas CEO Tony Fleo — has set up a GoFundMe campaign to help offset some of the expenses the family is incurring as little Olivia continues her fight.

Olivia has an arduous fight before her, but she’s already got so many wins behind her as well. And has her parents fight strength from the well-wishes and positive thoughts of friends and strangers, they’ll fight, too, but not alone.

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Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson lives in a 1961 Fox and Jacobs home with her husband, a second-grader, and Conrad Bain the dog. If she won the lottery, she'd by an E. Faye Jones home. She's taken home a few awards for her writing, including a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Online News Association, the Education Writers Association, the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, and the Society of Professional Journalists. She doesn't like lima beans or the word moist.

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