Stories about: Our Patients’ Stories

Volunteers are caregivers, too

PHOTOS: MICHAEL GODERRE/BOSTON CHILDREN’S

At Boston Children’s Hospital, we are all part of the care team. Our President and Chief Operating Officer Dr. Kevin Churchwell often says, “Whether we’re delivering care at bedside, supporting that care or pioneering what care will look like tomorrow, everyone at Boston Children’s is a caregiver.”

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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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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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Athlete’s mystery pain is low-grade glioma

Erin, who had surgery for a low-grade glioma, kicks a soccer ball during a game.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE HOLMBERG FAMILY

It started with muscle aches in her shoulders, almost like spasms, while she slept. The pain was awful, and nothing seemed to bring relief. But because Erin Holmberg is a varsity three-sport athlete — soccer, basketball and track — everyone assumed it was muscular pain caused by overexertion.

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