Author: Ellen Greenlaw

Acute flaccid myelitis: What parents need to know

Photo of a toddler's feet
PHOTO: ADOBE STOCK

If you’re a parent, chances are you’ve heard the recent news reports about acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM. So far this year, 106 cases of AFM have been confirmed in 26 states, including two in Massachusetts. Similar outbreaks occurred in 2014 and 2016.

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After heart surgery, Chris reaches new goals one step at a time

Chris, who had heart valve surgery as an adult, runs a half marathon.
Chris runs the Newburyport half marathon in 2016 [PHOTO: RACEWIRE]
Many people approach training for a triathlon as a chore, something they have to endure to reach their ultimate goal. But for Chris Wagner, training is a pleasure — one he doesn’t take for granted.

“The idea that I can get up on a given Saturday and go out and run 10 miles is a real gift,” he says. “I wake up in the morning and think, ‘I get to do this.’”

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Edleigh’s story: A repaired mitral valve, a happy toddler

Eddie, who had heart valve surgery, poses with her stuffed dog Prudence
PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE PLAISTED FAMILY

Edleigh “Eddie” Plaisted is only 15 months old, but already cares for her own ward of patients, including Whalen, Ruffus and Prudence. Her stuffed animals are in good hands — Eddie has spent enough time around doctors and nurses to know how to keep her charges happy.

Eddie’s own medical care began before she was even born, when she was diagnosed prenatally with several congenital heart defects at her local hospital in Minnesota.

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Celebrating our superheroes, princesses, ghouls and goblins

This Halloween, we take a moment to celebrate the many children who have inspired us over the past year with their stories of courage, determination and general all-around amazingness.

  • Arianna, Dorothy and older brother, Colin

Arianna, dressed as Elmo, continues to gain strength after a new treatment for type 1 spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Ballerina Dorothy, is creating her own song-and-dance routines after treatment for  jejunal atresia in the Center for Advanced Intestinal Rehabilitation (CAIR). Colin is flying high back home in Colorado after a complete biventricular repair for his several complex congenital heart defects.

Much like ET, Jack loves making phone calls, especially now that he’s said goodbye to his G-tube. Vampire Joey is working on finding his voice, with help from the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Program.

Princess Kannon, first-grade fashionista, is off the charts in terms of development after surgery for hydrocephalus. Dr. Keira is ready to follow in the footsteps of her clinicians in the Pacemaker and ICD Program, who successfully treated her uncommon variant of vasovagal syncope. 

Wonder Woman Mae, who has Down syndrome and had surgery to repair a hole in her heart, gives out Halloween hugs. Princess Nora, who was treated for midaortic syndrome, prepares to go trick-or-treating with her mom.

Back home in England after surgery to remove a cardiac tumor, Oliver dons his scary skeleton costume and holds his trick-or-treat basket high. Obsessed with all things superhero, Patrick is headed to “infinity … and beyond” as Buzz Lightyear after recovering from a rare bilateral cerebellar strokeMae and older sister Rosie celebrate Halloween as a frog and a princess after Mae’s double lung transplant through the Lung Transplant Program.

Reagan has bounced back from surgery for an anorectal malformation to be the cutest skeleton on the block. Sonia is truly a Wonder Woman, as she and her mom help save hearts a world away. Stella, who has spastic diplegia cerebral palsy (CP), will use her special wheelchair to roam her neighborhood dressed as Elsa.

We wish every princess, superhero, ghoul and goblin a fun and safe Halloween.

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