Looking back on 2014, I find it incredibly difficult to select the top stories of the year. It seems every patient and every caregiver has a magical, very real and wholly inspirational story to share. From tiny newborns to celebrities and professional athletes to healers, there is no shortage of heroes here at Boston Children’s. It’s a privilege to play a small role in sharing their journeys.
Here’s to looking back and looking ahead to a healthy and happy new year.
Cancer diagnosis can’t shake these first-time parents
Early last year, we first met Joey Lauzon, an adorable newborn with bright eyes and wispy hair. Today, Joey’s parents are getting ready to celebrate his first birthday. It’s an incredible milestone for the toddler, who was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma shortly after birth.
Daughter of pro hockey player faces off against serious heart condition in Boston
Tiny Milana Foligno proved to be as tough as her professional hockey-playing father—Nick Foligno, the left winger of the Columbus Blue Jackets. After Milana was born with a serious heart valve condition, Nick and his wife Janelle searched high and low for the best care of their daughter, ultimately landing at Boston Children’s Heart Center. Milana had surgery to replace her damaged heart valve with a special expandable valve that will grow with her.
Jen Castro is not a typical 10-year-old. She doesn’t like summer camp or being around other kids. But that changed last summer after Jen was selected to attend Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Camp where the below-the-elbow amputee learned to tie her shoes, bat lefty and do a one-armed pushup.
Jalyn and Sofia share a bond that few children do. Both girls love to dance and joke, and have a generous spirit that belies their youth.
Determination can take a teen fairly far. It took 17-year-old Kyle Arieta from hospital bed to football field in less than a year. Doctors at Boston Children’s removed a tumor from Kyle’s pituitary gland in a unique way: through his nose.
Our patients’ stories: Yousef’s Vein of Galen surgery
Sometimes, it takes a trip around the world to find a perfect fit. That’s exactly what happened to Yousef Alrkhayes. When the impish toddler was born in Kuwait City, his doctors found an extremely rare venous malformation in his brain. His parents searched high and low for the right care for their son and ultimately landed at Boston Children’s.
A Christmas snowstorm turned into a crisis for two-year-old Cameron Shearing and his parents when the toddler choked on a chocolate-covered pretzel. It took a tremendous team effort to save Cameron’s life.
In November, Ryan Seacrest and celebrity guests Shawn Mendes, Usher and the Swon Brothers gathered with some special patients to unveil the Seacrest Studio at Boston Children’s Hospital. The new studio, made possible by the Seacrest Foundation, is designed for both radio and television production and will allow patients to interview celebrity guests who visit the hospital, or play “deejay” for the day.
In the run-up to Super Bowl XLVIII, 11-year-old Trever faced the same dilemma as every football fan—root for the Denver Broncos or the Seattle Seahawks. But the choice was tougher for Trever. He’s a lifelong Broncos’ fan who found a kindred spirit in Seahawks’ player Derrick Coleman. Both Trever, who happens to be an aspiring football player, and Coleman are deaf.
Sometimes a trip to the hospital can feel like a television drama focused on an extreme condition. But occasionally, even the ordinary seems extraordinary. That’s what happened when 12-year-old Jasper came to Boston Children’s with a belly ache that turned out to be appendicitis.