Stories about: Center for Airway Disorders

Making progress: Eli is thriving after laryngeal cleft repair

Elie, who had a laryngeal cleft repair, playing in the hospital waiting room

Eli Bustard is pretty laid back for a 3-year-old — until he sees a picture of a dinosaur. “He’s obsessed,” laughs his mother, Nicole, who reports that Eli has been poring over a library book about these prehistoric beasts. Some of his other favorite pastimes: playing with trucks, caring for his Boston terrier and climbing up and down the musical stairs at Boston Children’s Hospital, which play a cheerful melody with every step.

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Step by step: Sloane’s incredible journey with laryngeal cleft

laryngeal cleft treatment

Like most first graders, Sloane has a jam-packed schedule, filled with fun activities such as dancing, ice skating and playing tennis. But every now and then, this busy girl needs to take a break, even if that simply means taking her time to sip a glass of water. “I remind her that, sometimes, she needs to slow down,” says her mom, Tarra.

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Trusting their instincts: Family finds help for laryngeal cleft

laryngeal cleft treatment

For some kids, the hospital can be a scary place, where even doctors with the best intentions poke, prod and serve up yucky-tasting medication. But for three-year-old Jack Steinberg, a visit to Boston Children’s Hospital is worth the trip from his home in Great Neck, New York. “No, it’s really fun,” Jack’s mother, Jessica, recently overheard him telling his older brother, Henry, who isn’t a fan of doctor visits. “They give you toys and stickers there!”

Jack’s cheerful attitude seems at odds with his recent health challenges. In fact, says his father, Noah, “If you saw him walking down the street, you’d never know anything was wrong with him.”

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Hear me roar: A mother hunts down answers for her son

If it’s true that raising boys is not for the fainthearted, then Nicole Laws is truly lionhearted. A nurturer and a protector, beautiful and strong, this mother of four boys will hunt down the best solution to a problem … no matter what stands in her way.

Mason was born on Jan. 28, 2011, in Syracuse, New York. A month premature, he struggled with eating and breathing, but Nicole wasn’t overly worried. “This was our fourth child. The first three had reflux, so I was thinking, ‘This will be a piece of cake!’” Mason was observed for a few days at the local hospital and sent home.

Unfortunately, Mason’s issues persisted. Nicole and her husband Cliff had to hold their son in just the right position and give him frequent breaks to feed him. Sleeping was a struggle, to say the least. “Mason couldn’t tolerate laying flat,” remembers Nicole. “He would sleep on top of me sitting in a chair — all night long.”

We wouldn’t be where we are now if I didn’t push hard for answers and say ‘no’ when I felt something wasn’t right. ~ Nicole, Mason’s mom

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