Stories about: Our Patients’ Stories

A diagnosis of Down syndrome motivates a family to go the extra mile

Mae, who has Down syndrome, sits on the bottom of a slide. As she leaves nursery school at the end of each day, Mae Tapley blows kisses to every person she passes on her way to the door. For her mother, Susie, watching teachers and staff step out into the hall to wave to her daughter is a welcome change. Three years ago, when Mae was born with Down syndrome, it seemed like no one knew what to say to her.

“When you have a typical child, people tell you how beautiful they are,” says Susie. “With Mae, no one told us she was beautiful or that she would have a full life until we came to Boston Children’s Hospital. They believed in her from the first day.”

Read Full Story

Helping Olympian Aimee Buchanan get back on her skates

Aimee Buchanan, who had surgery to remove a bursa, performs a Biellmann spin at the 2018 winter Olympics

Like many young athletes, Aimee Buchanan dreamed of going to the Olympics. But unlike most athletes, she skated her way to success, overcoming multiple injuries along the way. A dual American-Israeli citizen, Aimee competed for Israel’s figure skating team at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. She placed 10th in the women’s short program team event and ultimately helped her team finish ahead of both South Korea and France.

Read Full Story

Nate’s All-Star recovery from an ACL tear

Nate, who had ACL reconstruction physeal sparing surgery, bats during a game

Just a few decades ago, a child tearing their ACL would lead to years of reduced activity and inability to participate in sports. Surgical reconstruction was not an option, given that the procedure required drilling through the growth plate, and would disrupt future growth in the child’s affected leg.

But in 1976, Lyle Micheli, MD, director of the Sports Medicine Division at Boston Children’s Hospital, pioneered a new growth plate-sparing ACL reconstruction procedure for growing children. Known as physeal-sparing ACL reconstruction, the procedure has been used to reconstruct ACLs in prepubescent kids at Boston Children’s ever since.

This is the procedure that Nate — a 12-year-old star baseball player at the time — underwent in 2013, after tearing his ACL playing football. Rather than rush into an ACL reconstruction surgery in their home state of Maine, Nate’s family researched the best ACL surgeons, and were ultimately referred to Mininder Kocher, MD, MPH, associate director of the Sports Medicine Division at Boston Children’s.

Read Full Story

Against all odds: Colin’s biventricular repair

Colin, who had a biventricular repair, climbs onto the table during his office visit.

Catherine and Julio Pita were already seasoned parents when they learned they were expecting their sixth child. But when an ultrasound at Catherine’s 16-week prenatal visit showed their baby had a hole in his heart, they were surprised and unprepared.

Read Full Story