Kenslie’s story: A new brother and a new chance at life

Kenslie and Hollis sleeping

February was a very busy month for the Shealy family from Lexington, South Carolina. Lori and Calvin were expecting the family’s fourth child. Their daughter Kenslie, 2, was ecstatic at the thought of a new baby brother.

“When I was pregnant with Hollis, Kenslie kept asking when he was coming,” Lori says. “She’d say, ‘Mommy, can you just open up your belly? I want to see him.’”

But Kenslie missed meeting Hollis the day he was born.

Instead, she and Calvin were nearly 1,000 miles from home at Boston Children’s Hospital, where Kenslie, who had been diagnosed with midaortic syndrome, was battling for her life. The topsy-turvy month began with symptoms of the flu.

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NHL star on sports concussion: Be aware, get tested

concussionJason Zent, a retired professional hockey player, has witnessed a dramatic shift in concussion awareness since the start of his professional career in 1995. Though awareness of how a concussion impacts an athlete’s health has improved, Zent is on a mission to continue to raise awareness and promote baseline testing.

Zent played hockey in high school at The Nichols School in Buffalo and for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, but concussion was not talked about during his high school and college playing days.

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Ask the expert: Can kids get melanoma?

Carlos Rodriguez-Galindo
Carlos Rodriguez-Galindo, MD

My 16-year-old daughter loves to tan. Should we be worried about skin cancer? – Sunseeker’s dad

Although melanoma is very rare in children, the incidence of childhood and adolescent melanoma has increased on average 2 percent per year since 1973. Thankfully, however, the incidence rate has started to decrease again in the last few years. The biggest increase has been in girls ages 15-19, possibly because girls are more likely than boys to sunbathe and use tanning beds.

While melanoma is the least common type of skin cancer in adults, skin cancer in children is almost always melanoma. Because melanoma often appears differently in children than in adults, doctors and parents sometimes overlook it or misdiagnose it as a different skin problem.

We spoke with Dr. Carlos Rodriguez-Galindo, clinical director of the Solid Tumor Center at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, to learn what parents should know about melanoma in children.

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Solving Addison’s puzzle: Uncovering a congenital heart defect

Addison-on-bike-trail1Addison is a smart, sweet and caring child who brings a smile to everyone she meets. She is known for her hugs and frequently doles them out to anyone and everyone. She loves elephants—and her heart is elephant-sized! However, until last fall, Addison’s heart was causing mysterious and persistent medical issues that prevented her from doing all the things she loves. Unbeknownst to my husband and me, Addison was born with a congenital heart defect.

As a baby, Addison thrived but always seemed to have something going on. She had issues with reflux and did not enjoy tummy time or sleeping on her back. Waking several times during the night is not uncommon for a baby, but Addison seemed to be waking in pain every hour or two. When she was 9 months old, a GI specialist diagnosed her with reflux, and as she grew into a toddler, Addison developed significant respiratory issues, including a croupy cough. Now when she woke up during the night, it was with severe coughing fits.

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