Patient Stories

All Articles in the Category ‘Patient Stories’

The Ultimate Act of ‘Paying It Forward’: A Mom’s Lifesaving Mission

Kaden Hollis, now 11, received a lifesaving liver transplant when he was nearly 2 years old.

In honor of Donate Life Month, On the Pulse shares an inspiring story of a mother and her son that symbolizes the true act of ‘paying it forward’. Kaden Hollis was only 1 years old when he underwent a lifesaving liver transplant. Throughout Kaden’s journey, his mother Cindie knew that although the gift of life her son received could never be paid back, it could be paid forward — which is what she did when a friend was in desperate need.

Kaden Hollis was just 3 months old when his mother, Cindie Hollis, began noticing signs that indicated her baby was not well.

The whites of his eyes were turning yellow, which quickly spread throughout his entire body. He had a constant itch that resulted in awful cuts all over his delicate skin from the scratching. It was evident that Kaden had a severe case of jaundice. After numerous doctor visits and careful monitoring of his condition over the next several months, Kaden’s health was not improving. To find the answer to what was causing her son’s worrisome condition Hollis went to Seattle Children’s Hospital when he was 13 months old.

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Family Travels Across Country for Liver Transplant to Treat Rare Disease

Trevor as a baby

Trevor was born with rare disease called maple syrup urine disease. Seattle Childrens transplant program is one of six centers in the country to offer transplantation for children with MSUD.

Only a week after giving birth to twins, a girl and a boy, in July of 2008, Annette Cole’s world was turned upside down. Something was wrong with her baby boy, Trevor Clemons. In his first couple weeks of life he was lethargic, irritable and couldn’t keep any food down. She was overwhelmed with fear as doctors delivered the difficult news.

The diagnosis felt as unreal as the name of the disease sounded: maple syrup urine disease (MSUD).

“We couldn’t believe it,” said Cole. “When we first found out about the disease, we had never heard of it before. We didn’t know what to expect. We didn’t know anything.” Read full post »

Miss Seattle Gives Back to the Hospital That Saved Her Life

Miss Seattle - Baby

Posey-Grager signs a children’s book for a young patient.

The halls of Seattle Children’s Hospital are a familiar place to Joell Posey-Grager, Miss Seattle 2016, and her family. Now 24, before she was wearing crowns and singing to audiences, she was a patient at Seattle Children’s.

Recently, she returned to the hospital not as a patient, but as a visitor to help brighten the day for other patients like her. With a little help from two very special guests, RJ Mitte, from the popular television show “Breaking Bad”, and Romi Dames, from Disney’s “Hannah Montana,” that’s exactly what they did.

Posey-Grager has always wanted to give back to the hospital that saved her life. Like the patients she visited in the inpatient playroom at Seattle Children’s, she understands the challenges of being in the hospital as a child so what better way to spread cheer than with a glittering crown and a story of hope. Read full post »

Ski Day Helps Teen Get Back on the Slopes After Being Paralyzed

Jacob Skiing 2

Jacob skis with the assistance of adaptive ski poles, called outriggers.

On January 6, 2015, 13-year-old Jacob Wald woke up and headed to school. The day started out just like any other day.

This day, however, would turn out to be very different; this day would change his life forever.

“I was playing basketball that morning,” said Wald. “Everything happened so fast. Eight hours later I couldn’t walk.”

That morning during school Wald began to suffer from back pain. It progressively got worse so he left school early. Soon after, he couldn’t stand anymore.

“My legs turned to JELL-O,” said Wald.

He was taken immediately to an emergency room in Tacoma. He stayed inpatient there for two weeks until he was transported by ambulance to Seattle Children’s Hospital. Read full post »

How a Neurosurgeon’s Gifted Hands Saved an Artist’s Creative Mind

Nina was at Seattle Children’s selling her art to raise money for the hospital when a chance encounter reunited her with Dr. Richard G. Ellenbogen, the doctor who performed her life-saving operation.

Neurosurgeon Dr. Richard G. Ellenbogen and his former patient Nina Jubran share two important skills: As a surgeon and an artist, they both have great attention to detail and hands that are used to doing very delicate work. They also have another profound connection: Ellenbogen saved Nina’s life 12 years ago today when she came in for neurosurgery to remove a dangerous brain tumor.

Nina, 22, is an artist and a student at the University of Washington studying sociology. In her spare time, she makes and sells delicate clay figurines like miniature scenes of penguins fishing, ornate bouquets and families of teddy bears. To thank Ellenbogen for saving her life, Nina made him clay figurines 12 years ago of a teddy bear and puppies that still sit on his desk.

Recently, Nina was at Seattle Children’s selling her figurines to raise money for the hospital when a chance encounter reunited her with the doctor who performed her life-saving operation. Ellenbogen was having a busy day with surgeries, and he went out for a quick cup of coffee before heading into his next operation.

“When I saw Nina, my heart skipped a beat,” Ellenbogen said. “It made my day to run into a former patient. I am so proud that she is out there being successful and doing what she loves. That is what drives me as a doctor.” Read full post »

Researchers Work Toward New Type 1 Diabetes Therapies For Patients Like Juliana

Juliana Graceffo, 11, has type 1 diabetes. She must test her blood sugar throughout the day and take carefully calculated doses of insulin.

Children with type 1 diabetes and their families have to do several calculations throughout the day to stay healthy. Did my daughter check her blood sugar before breakfast? Does she need an extra snack because she has gym class? Is there someone at school to help my child check her blood sugar?

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that injures the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas and leads to a lifelong requirement of daily insulin injections. It is a considerable burden of care on patients and parents, who effectively never get a rest from the demands of staying healthy and safe.

According to the American Diabetes Association, about 1.25 million Americans have type 1 diabetes. A new $1 million grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust will get doctors and scientists at Seattle Children’s Research Institute one step closer to better treatment for type 1 diabetes by studying the use of immunotherapy to treat the condition. The work is in collaboration with researchers at Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason (BRI)Read full post »

Novel Super Glue Surgery Helps Patients Walk, Frees Them From Pain

Going home 2-4-16

Madison Fairchild, 7, post-surgery.

In February, Madison Fairchild, 7, waited patiently with her family in a pre-op exam room at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

As they waited for Madison to be taken into surgery she asked one question: “Are they going to take all the bad things out?”

The simple answer was yes, thanks to a new procedure pioneered at Seattle Children’s that uses a common household item to remove tumor-like growths called venous malformations: super glue.

That’s right, super glue.

Seattle Children’s is currently one of only two centers in the country to offer the new, revolutionary procedure. Read full post »

Alaska Baby Who Received Life-Saving Heart Transplant Goes Home

Baby LincolnAt only 8 months old, Lincoln Seay, has spent the majority of his short life inside the walls of hospitals. This week, however, marks the start of a new chapter: he is finally going home, or at least he’s one step closer to his home back in Alaska.

Only 21 days after receiving a life-saving heart transplant at Seattle Children’s Hospital, Lincoln was discharged from the hospital with a new heart and a new lease on life.

“We’re so excited,” said Rob Seay, Lincoln’s father. “As a family it’s been a big celebration since we were discharged. We’re finally all under one roof again. It’s a tremendous blessing.” Read full post »

McKinley Gives Hope to Others With Kidney Disease

McKinley and Twin Brother

McKinley with her twin brother.

In honor of World Kidney Day, On The Pulse shares the inspirational story of 5-year-old McKinley Miller who was born with just one kidney that did not develop normally. “She’s our little miracle,” said McKinley’s mother, Jennifer Miller. “We want other people to know there’s always hope. All you have to do is look at McKinley and see what she’s overcome.”

When Jennifer Miller learned she was expecting twins she was overjoyed. Unfortunately, Miller’s joy quickly turned to uncertainty. At her 20-week ultrasound, Miller was told something was wrong with one of the babies.

“I could tell they were looking for something that wasn’t there,” said Miller. “I knew something wasn’t quite right.”

Baby McKinley was prenatally diagnosed with kidney disease and was missing one kidney. She suffered from a rare combination of complex developmental problems affecting multiple organs in her body, including her kidneys, heart and rectum.

“We chose to stay positive,” said Miller. “We were told we may lose her, but I refused to focus on that possibility. I kept focusing on having both my babies.” Read full post »

Doctors Grow Jaw for Little Girl Born Without One

Lexi at homeWatch little Alexis (Lexi) Melton, 7, Irish dance across a stage, or effortlessly ski down a slope, and you would never guess the hurdles she’s had to overcome in her short life.

When Lexi was born, her family didn’t know if she would survive. Her extremely rare craniofacial condition literally makes her one in a million. But her story isn’t one of heartache, it’s a story of hope.

Lisa Skylynd, Lexi’s mother, never let anything hold Lexi back, not even her complex medical condition. She always told her,

“If you want to dance, you should dance. If you want to run, you should run.”

And that’s exactly what she’s done.

“Lexi is not only alive today because of the care she received at Seattle Children’s; she’s living her life to the fullest,” added Lisa. Read full post »