Our daughter Makayla was born perfectly healthy on April 5th, 2014, passing all of the usual newborn screenings without issue. From day one, her personality shone through. She was strong-willed and had a smile that would light up her eyes before her mouth even showed a hint of joy. But over the next 3 months, Makayla wasn’t eating well and wasn’t gaining enough weight. Our pediatrician referred us to Dr. Elizabeth Hait, a gastroenterologist at Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. Hait would change Makayla’s formula multiple times and put her on medication for her acid reflux. Her pediatrician also tested her for a milk allergy, since her brother had one as an infant, but it was negative. It was recommended Makayla have an upper GI to make sure everything was anatomically correct.
The technician suggested everything looked good, so we left feeling that Makayla was perfectly normal. But a call from her doctor that afternoon turned our world upside down. …
Thanksgiving Day is a time rich in family, gratitude and appreciation. In honor of the holiday, we are celebrating the patient families who have traveled through our doors and the selfless acts of kindness and volunteerism that follow.
Donating platelets and cycling for a cause
Ten years ago, Adam Nussenbaum’s son, Max, was treated at Boston Children’s and overcame a life threatening illness. Today, Adam gives his time — and platelets — to help those in need, and he is doing so in celebration of Max; his daughter Kate, who donated her bone marrow to help her brother; and the clinicians, who made his son’s recovery possible.
For the past eight years, Adam has participated in the Pan Mass Challenge and raised over $55,000 to benefit the Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Center at Boston Children’s. He also donates platelets on a monthly basis.
“It has been immensely gratifying to know that I have and will continue to play a small role in helping patients like Max on their road to recovery,” he says.
I stand here today with two legs the same length, thanks to Dr. Kasser, but I am grateful to him for so much more. People tell me all the time that I have a positive attitude. Perhaps that’s because, thanks to Dr. Kasser, I believe that anything is possible.
George Davies, a senior at Bancroft School in Worcester, Massachusetts, faces every challenge, every obstacle and every situation with a sense of what’s possible. He rows varsity crew, plays the electric guitar, and after two years of independent research he’s off to Scotland’s University of St Andrews to study biochemistry.
Dr. James Kasser, Boston Children’s Hospital’s surgeon-in-chief, diagnosed George when he was 3 months old with Fibular Hemimelia, a rare genetic absence of the fibular bone and a condition which results in the affected leg growing at a slower rate than normal. Without treatment, George’s right leg would have been six inches shorter than his left.
His parents had two options: amputate George’s foot and have him fitted with a series of prostheses throughout his life or sign him up for a series of limb-lengthening operations.
Jen and Paul Davies did their homework. They spoke with other families whose children had undergone leg-lengthening operations. “The apparatus is dramatic and scary looking, but the kids seemed fine. We decided it was the best option for George,” recalls Jen. The Davies family opted for a series of limb-lengthening surgeries with Kasser.