Author: Jessica Cerretani

‘Finally who I should be’: Meet Zack

Following phalloplasty, Zack's transition is complete.
Zack with part of his care team: Elizabeth Boskey, Dr. Amir Taghinia, Dr. Oren Ganor and Dr. David Diamond. (ALL PHOTOS: COURTESY OF ZACK HOGLE)

Zack Hogle woke up feeling groggy, sore and — at last — whole. He had just undergone more than 14 hours of surgery, but he was elated. “When I looked down at my body, I couldn’t stop crying,” he says. “I finally felt like myself.”

The surgery was the last step in what had been a lifelong journey. Growing up in a small town in Western Massachusetts, Zack, now 24, says he always knew he felt different. “I hated my body,” he remembers. “I thought, ‘I’m not the same as other kids and this isn’t okay.’” It wasn’t until he was in high school that he learned the word transgender and what that meant. The realization was a turning point.

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Andrew’s story: Gold medalist kicks aerodigestive problems

With his asthma under control, Andrew holds the American flag after winning a gold medal
PHOTOS: COURTESY OF THE WARREN FAMILY

Last November, Andrew Warren stood on the podium in front of the American flag, grinning proudly as the medals around his neck glinted in the light. He had traveled to Orlando, Florida from his home in upstate New York to compete in the Karate and Kickboxing World Championships — and he delivered, taking home both a gold and a silver medal. It was an incredible accomplishment for a teenager once so ill that he made nearly three dozen visits to the emergency department before he was 6 years old.

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Keeping the bar high: Chasing adventure with cerebral palsy

Maggie has cerebral palsy — and a big smile
PHOTOS: COURTESY OF THE KING FAMILY

Maggie King is a thrill seeker: At 25, she’s been scuba diving, ridden in a hot air balloon, tackled every ride at Disney World multiple times and even flown to Los Angeles to attend the live finale for the 21st season of the TV show Survivor. “She’s all in, all the time,” says her mom, Dana.

It’s an attitude that Dana and her husband Dennis believe their daughter developed soon after birth, when an episode of anoxia, or severe oxygen deprivation, left her with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy (CP) and other medical concerns. “At first, we were petrified,” says Dana, who was a social worker at Maggie’s birth hospital at the time. “We never expected to be on the other side of things. It was like being in a giant fog.”

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HPN helps football fan thrive

Rithvik has his blood pressure tested at an HPN appointment
PHOTOS: SOPHIE FABBRI/BOSTON CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

At 13, Rithvik Kottapalli isn’t just a New England Patriots fan — he’s been a passionate devotee since he was a toddler. “He started young,” laughs his mother, Lakshmi. The boy’s adoration even buoyed him along after he experienced a major stroke four years ago. As he recovered at Boston Children’s Hospital, “He couldn’t remember his own name,” says Lakshmi. “He didn’t know that I was his mom.”

Yet when a clinician asked him who his favorite Pats player was, Rithvik had an answer right away. “[Rob] Gronkowsi,” he murmured — twice.

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