Victoria Millard, left, and Linda Severt, right, captivate patient Karsten Hendricks, 2, with music and bubbles (courtesy of John Curry Photography)
If you happen to stroll through Seattle Children’s Hospital’s medical or surgical unit on a Tuesday, you’ll notice something’s a little different – the air feels a little lighter. You’ll likely hear sounds of music and laughter flowing through the halls, and you may even encounter a juggling act.
The spirits of patients, families and staff are a little brighter on this day because of a couple of clowns. No really – a few actual clowns that are a part of the Room Circus Medical Clowning group.
Hanging out with the clown posse
I was recently lucky enough to get a chance to tag along with a few of the clowns during their visit at the hospital. In spending the day with Victoria Millard (aka Dr. LaFoo), who is executive artistic director of the group, and Linda Severt (aka Dr. Hamsterfuzz), who is the program manager, I witnessed firsthand the joy they brought to everyone they encountered – patients, parents and staff alike.
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In honor of American Heart Month, we are sharing Gabrielle’s incredible journey from sick baby to healthy toddler.
Christen Simon was 18 weeks into her third pregnancy when a routine ultrasound revealed the unthinkable: a serious birth defect. The daughter that Christen and her husband would call Gabrielle would need a heart transplant soon after birth.
“At that point I was in shock,” said Simon. “I didn’t know heart defects existed before that point in time. It wasn’t even in my scope of possibilities, not for my daughter.” Read full post »
In honor of American Heart Month, we are sharing a series of stories about some of our incredible heart patients who have overcome the odds.
Nobi Johnson was a seemingly healthy, charismatic and extremely athletic 13-year-old girl. She excelled at sports and was a star on the basketball court and soccer field. There was nothing she couldn’t do if she put her mind to it, which made the diagnosis of an anomalous coronary artery difficult to understand. Sports were out of the question, due to the unforeseen heart defect. How would Nobi find her happiness again? It would take over a year, but Nobi would find herself back on the court, thanks to her determination to play again and Seattle Children’s and Mary Bridge Children’s Regional Cardiac Surgery Program. Read full post »
Five months ago, 20-year-old Milton Wright III was given a death sentence. Today, he is expected to live a long, healthy life. This is the incredible story of how two determined researchers and the parents of a young boy came together to save him.
On Sept. 18, 2013, 20-year-old Milton Wright III walked into Seattle Children’s Hospital and received some devastating news.
Leukemia. Again. The third time in his young life, to be precise.
Wright wasn’t surprised by the diagnosis. He had been worried his cancer was back and went to the hospital alone to avoid worrying his mom and three younger siblings. Still, the news was paralyzing.
“I really felt like I was coming up in the world,” he said. “I thought I was done with cancer.”
Then the news got worse. Wright’s leukemia had become resistant to chemotherapy. A bone marrow transplant could cure his cancer, but he would have to be in remission first, and that couldn’t happen without chemotherapy. His chances of survival were dismal. Read full post »
Nicky, right, before he went to his prom this year.
Over the past two years, 17-year-old Nicky Richens’ life has transformed. He has found independence and a sense of freedom that he has never before known thanks to a small, discrete device called a phrenic nerve stimulator.
Nicky was born with congenital central hypoventilation syndrome (CCHS), a rare disorder that affects the autonomic nervous system and causes kids to essentially forget to breathe. Those that have this condition require 24-hour ventilatory support. The phrenic nerve stimulator, or pacer, can be concealed underneath clothes, provides up to 16 hours/day of breathing support and allows patients to be fully mobile.
“Pacers enable kids to get the health benefits of constant, proper oxygenation and ventilation without looking different or being restricted by it, which is huge in the life of a child,” said Maida Chen, MD, director of Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Sleep Disorders Center. “With pacers, kids go on to have very meaningful lives because they are healthier, they feel better and they are free to participate in their life.”
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