Bella is back, thanks to a very special kidney

Teen is back on the slopes after kidney transplant.
Bella received a kidney transplant from a living donor — her dad, Bill.

When they boarded a flight to Hawaii, Nancie and Bill had no idea their 12-year-old daughter was days away from being diagnosed with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). It was spring break and everyone was excited for the family adventure to begin.

The day before the trip, Bella saw a local orthopedic specialist after feeling pain and weakness in her legs. She otherwise felt well, but with softball season approaching, she didn’t want to risk injury. The specialist drew blood and was hoping to have some answers for the family upon their return home to Connecticut.

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Spencer gets back on the court after cancer

Spencer is back on the court after cancer.

For much of his 17 years, Spencer Riley has lived to play basketball. This winter, his favorite sport helped the teenager get back to life.

Riley was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2016 and treated at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center that summer. He underwent an intensive three-month treatment cycle: one week of inpatient chemotherapy at Boston Children’s Hospital, two weeks of recuperation at home, and then back to Boston Children’s.

While occasionally well enough to go on family outings, he was still too weak to shoot or even dribble a basketball.

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The show must go on: Teen overcomes motility disorder

teen recovers from motility disorder

In October 2016, we were spending a weekend in Minnesota for a family wedding. Little did we know we would be there longer than expected!

During the rehearsal dinner, my 16-year-old daughter Sophie said she wasn’t hungry — a surprise because it had been a long day of travel and the rest of us were starving. She managed to force down some food but seemed lethargic and not herself. She later confessed that she had been feeling sick all day.

Back at the hotel, I had just drifted off to sleep when my other daughter called me from their room. She said Sophie was sick and crying. I ran down the hall and when I saw her, I just knew something was wrong. My instincts said get to the ER right away.

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The only kids who need vitamins (spoiler alert: there aren’t many)

Gummy vitamins for children.

As a pediatrician, I get a lot of questions whether their children should take a multivitamin or other vitamin supplement. Parents think they will make their children healthier — and some think they will make them eat more (they don’t, sorry). Since our bodies need different vitamins to be healthy, they ask,

Should I give my child a multivitamin?

Not necessarily, actually. It turns out that most children don’t need them, making them an expensive waste of money. They can also be dangerous if children take too many, something that is very possible given that most chewable multivitamins for children taste like candy. And giving a vitamin can give families a false sense of security that their child is getting everything they need — when they aren’t.

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