Stories about: Diseases & Conditions

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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Life after transplant: Every day is a fresh start

ben after his liver transplant
PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE FLEISHMAN FAMILY

Even though I had surgery to treat a serious liver disease when I was only 9 weeks old, I didn’t really think too much about my liver until about a few years ago, when I was in fifth grade. That was when my mom and dad told me that I would need a transplant. Learning that I needed to be on the waitlist for a new liver was probably the darkest moment of my life at that point — I felt as though the world was collapsing around me.

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6 ways to celebrate National Donate Life Month

Each year, during the month of April, National Donate Life Month draws attention to those who have saved and healed lives through the gift of organ, eye and tissue donation. Here are six simple ways to participate, celebrate and educate.

No1
Become an organ donor.

phillips-donate-life

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Avery is an inspiration to her family

Avery, who is in remission from neuroblastoma, poses with her family in a field.
Avery and her family

Kids often rely on their parents for inspiration, but for Kevin and Becky McAvoy, it’s their 5-year-old daughter, Avery, who provides the spark.

Avery was less than a year old when she was diagnosed with metastatic neuroblastoma, the most common type of cancer in infants. Her cancer contained an anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) mutation.

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