Author: Joanne Barker

Nicholas stands tall with Prader-Willi syndrome

Nicholas, who had spinal fusion surgery, shakes hands with Dr. Glotzbecker while his parents watch.
Nicholas presents an award to his surgeon, Dr. Michael Glotzbecker. Nicholas wears headphones in public to protect himself from sensory overload. (Michael Goderre/Boston Children’s)

When he rose from his chair to shake his surgeon’s hand, 17-year-old Nicholas Peters stood 4 inches taller than he had just a few months before. “Thank you for making me feel better,” Nicholas said to Dr. Michael Glotzbecker, the surgeon from the Boston Children’s Hospital Spinal Program who had operated on his spine. With a little prompting from his parents, Nicholas added, “I can bend over to play with my jeep.”

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Gracie’s complex spine

PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE BRENNAN-NEEF FAMILY

Halloween 2018 was no ordinary ghouls’ day for Gracie Neef. She and both her parents dressed up as the witches from “Hocus Pocus.” To Gracie’s delight, her father’s costume included a long, blonde wig. Even more unusual, Gracie was an inpatient at Boston Children’s Hospital. “The fact that Gracie was going to spend Halloween in the hospital was at first really sad,” says Gracie’s mother, Lucie Brennan. “But we went trick or treating all around the hospital. It was surprisingly fun.” Two weeks later, Gracie had spinal fusion surgery.

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Congenital hypothyroidism won’t stop Adrian

Adrian, who has hypothyroidism, poses with his siblings for Halloween.
Adrian (left) celebrates Halloween with his siblings, Lorenzo the tiger, Maria the dalmatian and Nina the fox. [PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE FAVULLI FAMILY]

There’s something magnetic about Adrian Favulli. “His personality is full of life,” says his father Steve. “Every day when I drop him off at school, I see other kids go out of their way to say hi to him.” After seeing the same thing happen day after day, Steve dubbed his first grader the Mayor of Munchkinville. “He’s just an awesome kid.”

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Olivia’s story: Recovering from necrotizing enterocolitis

Emily and Leo pose with Olivia, who had necrotizing enterocolitis, next to an open field.
Emily and Leo Martins with Olivia. [PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE MARTINS FAMILY]

Any new baby’s arrival comes with a long list of questions for parents. Will the baby sleep through the night, for instance, and what type of diaper is best? When babies are born premature, however, such questions typically give way to greater uncertainties. Will the baby’s internal organs develop and how long will they have to stay in the hospital?

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