Keeping the Beat: A retreat for kids with pacemakers and ICDs

Kids from the retreat get ready to zip line.
Photos by Richard Koch

Every year in early September, something extraordinary happens at the YMCA Camp Burgess on Cape Cod. That’s when a group of kids with pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) descend on the campground for the Keeping the Beat Retreat, a weekend filled with games, outdoor activities, dancing, singing and bonding. This year, I was lucky enough to get to join in on their fun as a volunteer counselor.

The weekend began with hugs, high-fives and screams of excitement as the kids piled off the bus and connected with old friends and former counselors. As a first-timer, I was clearly in the minority. Many of the kids have been attending the retreat for years, some since it began in 1999.

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Enjoying life, finally free of seizures

surgery for seizures

Kristen Grip stood in the middle of the basketball court, motionless. Around her, the action continued as usual — the smack of the ball on the polished wood floor, the rush of her teammates as they darted back and forth, the satisfying swish and shout of victory as someone made a basket. Yet the high school freshman stared vacantly into space, her only movement a small tap of her fingers together.

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4 trends in epilepsy research and care

epilepsy research

Despite the fact that epilepsy is the third most common brain disorder — affecting an estimated one percent of children — there’s still much we don’t know about this condition. In fact, in about 75 percent of cases, epilepsy has no known cause. Research is crucial to help physicians learn more about the roots of epilepsy in children and develop potential treatments for it.

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One year later: Abbey D’Agostino reflects on her Olympic moment

abbey d'agostino american flag

It’s August during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. Abbey D’Agostino is a runner in the 5,000-meter preliminary heat. She smiles and waves at the camera as it pans in front of the participants at their starting blocks — a positive, self-assured smile that stands out amongst the competitive grimaces around her. In this moment, she is where all track and field athletes aspire to be — at the pinnacle of their sport in an Olympic stadium.

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