Author: Jessica Cerretani

Cadagan: Humor and tenacity after a stroke

Treatment for stroke has helped Cadagan thrive.

Most parents try to discourage their children from indulging in humor about bodily functions like burping. But for Daniel and Lori Hooley, a simple smirk in response to a belch was the sign they needed that their daughter, Cadagan, was going to be okay.

It was 2012 and 7-year-old Cadagan was asleep, tucked into bed for the night. Around 11 p.m., she suddenly awoke — but it wasn’t because of a nightmare or a late-night request for a glass of water. Instead, she seemed limp and couldn’t focus. Then she began throwing up. Born with an extremely rare genetic disorder called trisomy 12p, the little girl had already experienced her share of health challenges. But this was something different.

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Reena’s story: A bright future with short bowel syndrome

Reena doesn't let short bowel syndrome define her.

She’s just 16, but Reena Zuckerman knows exactly what she wants to be doing in another 10 years. “My dream is to play on the press team in the annual Women’s Congressional Softball Game,” says the aspiring political journalist. Since 2009, the event has pitted members of Congress against the press corps, raising nearly a million dollars for charity. “When I’m not doing schoolwork or watching TV, I’m listening to political podcasts and NPR,” Reena confesses.

It’s an impressive goal, but one that’s no doubt attainable for this driven teen, who’s been pushing herself to defy expectations since she was a baby. Her accomplishments are all the more remarkable considering that she was born with a serious gastrointestinal condition.

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Dealing with a diagnosis of epilepsy: Common questions from parents

Illustration of brain with epilepsy

A diagnosis of epilepsy can seem overwhelming: You likely have a lot of questions about how seizures — and their treatment — will affect your child’s life and what that might mean for your family. That’s why education is crucial for helping ensure that you understand as much as possible about the condition. Events such as the Fifth Annual Epilepsy Awareness Day at Disneyland are wonderful opportunities to learn from experts and from other families. Here, Dr. Arnold Sansevere of the Epilepsy Center at Boston Children’s Hospital answers five common questions from parents and kids.

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‘Please take good care of our baby sister’: Help for Addison’s hemangioma

When Addison's hemangioma grew too large, surgery was necessary.

Most parents dress their baby girls in headbands for fun. But for Addison Quandt, these accessories, adorned with bows and flowers, weren’t a frivolous fashion statement. Instead, they helped hold in place the gauze that covered a large hemangioma on the back of her neck. “People always said what a fashionable baby she was,” says her mom, Dianne. “If they only knew.”

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