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Unique Corn Maze Raises Money for Childhood Cancer Research

Every year around March, Keith Stocker starts thinking about what he’s going to do with his next corn maze. The Snohomish, Wash., farmer and president of Stocker Farms has created many works of art with his crop, including a rendition of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and a nod to endangered animals at the Woodland Park Zoo. He was still looking for inspiration this year when he boarded an Alaska Airlines plane and picked up the in-flight magazine, Alaska Beyond.

“I started reading an article about Strong Against Cancer, (Seattle Seahawks quarterback) Russell Wilson and the research that’s being done at Seattle Children’s Hospital,” Stocker said. “I didn’t realize until I read that article how important this research is and what it’s doing for kids who are fighting for their lives, as well as their families. It spoke to me. I knew right then that this is what I needed to do for my next design.”

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Team Work and Unique Drug Protocol Help Aaden Beat the Odds

Aaden Adams with his parents, Cheree and Andrew Adams

Aaden Adams with his parents, Cheree and Andrew Adams

Aaden Adams remembers waking up in his room in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) at Seattle Children’s Hospital and asking for red Popsicles.

“Everybody wanted me to talk and I wanted a red Popsicle,” said the precocious 6-year-old with a face full of freckles. “So I asked for Popsicles. Do you remember that, Mom?”

“Yes, we remember that well,” answered Aaden’s mom, Cheree Adams. “That was a good day. That was the day we knew that you were on the right path. We knew that you were coming back to us.”

Just two weeks prior, Aaden, who was born with a congenital heart defect, was so near death that his parents were preparing themselves for the reality that he might not make it out of the hospital. It was a situation they had not even considered.

“He came here for a pretty minor procedure,” said Andrew Adams, Aaden’s father. “He was supposed to be in and out of the operating room, but then his body just shut down. His heart wouldn’t restart.”
Dr. Erin Albers, Aaden’s attending cardiologist, said the complication was so unusual that no one on the care team had seen it before. Read full post »

Smaller Artificial Heart Valve Saves Sadie’s Life; Offers Promise for Kids Everywhere

Lee'or, Sadie and Wendy Rutenberg

Lee’or, Sadie and Wendy Rutenberg

Lee’or and Wendy Rutenberg knew that their baby daughter, Sadie, was going to be born with heart problems. Ultrasounds showed that the walls between her heart’s atria and ventricles were not forming correctly. But they didn’t think it would be a problem for Sadie right away.

“Most children with conditions like Sadie’s don’t need surgery until they are 2 or 3 years old. We thought we’d have two or three years of relatively normal life before we’d have to do all of this,” Lee’or Rutenberg said as he gestured toward his daughter’s bed at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Unfortunately for the Rutenbergs, Sadie’s heart problems were more complex than expected. The only option for her was a type of pediatric heart valve that is currently in clinical trial. Sadie would become the first child in the U.S. to receive the valve as part of the HALO U.S. IDE Trial, which is testing the safety and efficiency of the St. Jude Medical Masters HPTM Series 15mm mechanical heart valve. Read full post »

From Devastating Heart Diagnosis to Hopefulness and Joy

On Sunday, Briella Caniparoli celebrated her first birthday, a miraculous feat given the struggles she’s had to overcome. This is Briella’s story, from a devastating heart diagnosis before birth to hope for a bright future.

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Briella with Dr. Agustin Rubio at Seattle Children’s Hospital

Christina Caniparoli and her husband, Mark, came to Christina’s 20-week ultrasound at a local hospital with no expectations except to learn the sex of their second child. Four hours later, the couple left with very different news.

“During the appointment they kept leaving the room and coming back, then leaving again,” Christina Caniparoli said. “Something was definitely not right.”

Doctors told the Caniparolis that their baby had significant heart defects, and most likely had Down’s syndrome. The parents-to-be were presented with the option to terminate the pregnancy.

“It just wasn’t an option for us,” Christina Caniparoli said. “I wasn’t ready to just accept what they were saying, but even if they were right, we would deal with whatever it was.”

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Mason’s Half-Heart Diagnosis Doesn’t Squash His Independence

Mason Garka, 6, holds a photo of himself as a baby, just before his surgery on July 4, 2008

Independence Day has a unique meaning for Greg and Kelsey Garka. It was on July 4, 2008, that their brand new baby boy, Mason, had his chest closed after the first of three life-saving heart operations at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

“His recovery from that day forward went text book well,” Kelsey Garka said. “It was the first step toward the spunky, independent boy he is today.”

Mason, who just celebrated his sixth birthday, was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), a congenital birth defect that affects the left side of the heart, which pumps oxygen-rich blood to the body.

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Seattle Children’s named to 150 great places to work list

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Seattle Children’s Hospital has been named to Becker’s Hospital Review’s list of 150 great places to work in healthcare.

Seattle Children’s was chosen for its “robust benefits, wellness imitatives, commitment to diversity and inclusion, professional development opportunities and a work environment that promotes employee satisfaction and work-life balance.” Read full post »

Study shows pregnant women still smoking, newborns at risk for heart defects

cigaretteAccording to a new study that will be highlighted this weekend at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting, women, particularly younger women, are still smoking while pregnant, putting their newborns at risk for congenital heart defects.

Patrick Sullivan, MD, lead author of the study and clinical fellow in pediatric cardiology at Seattle Children’s Hospital, said maternal smoking seemed to place newborns at a 50-70 percent greater risk for specific heart anomalies. The risk was highest in the heaviest smokers. Read full post »

Seattle Children’s treats 125 patients in January who lost contracted access through Washington’s Health Benefit Exchange

Seattle Children’s Hospital announced today that it has treated approximately 125 patients who lost contracted access to Seattle Children’s when new plans on Washington’s Health Benefit Exchange became effective at the beginning of the year.

Those patients, whose ailments range from craniofacial disorders to a neck mass, were all treated by Seattle Children’s regardless of their Exchange plan coverage, but continued access to the hospital remains in question.

“This is a dire situation for our patients,” said Dr. Sandy Melzer, senior vice president and Chief Strategy Officer, Seattle Children’s. “We can’t continue providing services to these patients without reimbursement from their insurance companies.  Eventually, these patients will have to seek care elsewhere, and for the treatment of many conditions, there is nowhere else to go in the region.”

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49er Faithful Donate to Seattle Children’s Hospital Foundation

There’s at least one thing that Seattle Seahawks fans and San Francisco 49ers fans can agree on…sick kids need help from anywhere they can get it. So when the 49er Faithful group pledged extra dollars from their recent fundraising effort to Seattle Children’s Hospital Foundation, we accepted. We might question their choice in football teams, but we would never question their integrity.

Go Hawks!