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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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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Wendy and Abby: Learning how to eat after premature birth

Abby and Wendy, who were born premature: Abby smiles with a piece of cheese in her hand. Wendy sits on the floor.
Abby (left) develops a taste for cheese. Wendy (right) contemplates crawling.
[PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ELLIOTT FAMILY]

The evening Tiffany and Richard Elliott’s twins were born, a group of clinicians sat down to tell them their babies might not make it. Born at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in October 2017, the newborns were almost three months premature. Each weighed less than 2 pounds and had not developed in critical ways. In the best-case scenario, Wendy, who was born first, and Abby, born four minutes later, would not breathe on their own at least until their original due date in January.

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