As the countdown to 2018 begins, we can’t help but look back on all of the amazing stories from Seattle Children’s that inspired readers in 2017. With over 100 stories of hope, care and cures posted on our blog this year, here are the top seven most-read posts of 2017.

1. Novel Diet Therapy Helps Children With Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis Reach Remission

Adelynne, with her mom here, was diagnosed with Crohn’s when she was 8 years old. With the help of a special diet, Adelynne has been in clinical remission for more than two years.

A first-of-its-kind-study led by Dr. David Suskind, a gastroenterologist at Seattle Children’s, published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, found a special diet called the specific carbohydrate diet (SCD) could bring pediatric patients with active Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis into clinical remission.

The findings support the use of SCD – a nutritionally balanced diet that removes grains, dairy, processed foods and sugars, except for honey – as a sole intervention to treat children with inflammatory bowel disease.

2. Baby Flies Across the Globe for Lifesaving Heart Surgery 24 Hours After Birth

Born with a serious, unexpected heart defect, Liam Ray had to fly 30 hours from Guam to Seattle soon after being born to receive life-saving heart surgery.

“They say it takes a village to care for a child, but this situation took three highly coordinated villages,” said Dr. Jonathan Chen, who performed Liam’s surgery and is the chief of pediatric cardiovascular surgery, as well as co-director of Seattle Children’s Heart Center. “We all held our breath until he got here because the situation was very high risk.”

Six hours after Liam went into surgery, his mom got the call she’d been waiting for, “Our boy made it. He is going to be ok.”

3. Baby Survives Incredible Odds After Vacation Takes Terrifying Turn

Casey Lang defied incredible odds after an aggressive infection threatened his life.

Within 48 hours, 15-month-old Casey Lang went from having a simple fever to open heart surgery while he was with his family on vacation in Seattle.

When his parents brought Casey to Seattle Children’s Emergency Department for what they thought was an everyday virus, doctors found an aggressive MRSA infection, rapidly spreading throughout his body. Casey spent the next five weeks in the hospital going from one dire scenario to another as the life-threatening infection first attacked his leg and then his heart. Defying all odds, Casey prevailed and was able to return home to family and friends in San Francisco in time for fall.

4. Grayson Gets His Shoes: How a Micro Preemie Beat Overwhelming Odds

This year, Grayson Barnett is spending his first Christmas at home in Idaho. Born a micro preemie last November at just 22 weeks gestation, Grayson missed more than 100 days of growth in utero critical to strengthening his heart, lungs, brain, digestive tract and skin. His chances of survival were only 5 to 10%.

On June 3, after his 117-day stay in the Seattle Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and countless moments of worry from his parents, Grayson went home for the first time.

“We lived off of hope for months,” Grayson’s mom, Leslie Barnett said. “We just hoped. Hour-by-hour. Day-by-day. We lived in the moment.”

5. Living the Movie Wonder: How 13-Year-Old Nathaniel Found Freedom, Inspires Kindness

Nathaniel Newman, 13, was born with Treacher Collins syndrome and has been called “Auggie Pullman come to life” by author R.J. Palacio, author of the New York Time’s bestselling book and now major motion picture “Wonder.”

Nathaniel Newman, 13, and his family have no trouble relating to the storyline of the New York Time’s bestselling book and now major motion picture “Wonder;” they live it every day. Nathaniel was born with Treacher Collins syndrome and has been called “Auggie Pullman come to life” by author R.J. Palacio.

Under the care of Dr. Richard Hopper, surgical director of Seattle Children’s Craniofacial Center, Nathaniel underwent a revolutionary new surgery called subcranial rotation distraction. The life-changing procedure makes it possible for tracheostomy-dependent children with Treacher Collins to breathe on their own.

This year, Nathaniel started the eighth grade and like Auggie, he wants people to be kind and accepting.

6. Different Cancers, Same Drug: New Trial Targets Common Genetic Pathway in Tumors

Six-year-old Connor Pearcy was born with a cancerous tumor below his knee. After chemotherapy and surgery failed to stop the tumor’s growth, Dr. Doug Hawkins, division chief of Hematology and Oncology at Seattle Children’s, suggested Connor may benefit from a clinical trial of an experimental therapy that would target a genetic alteration in his cancer.

The experimental therapy called larotrectinib (LOXO-101) is part of a growing trend toward tumor-agnostic cancer therapies that target genetic mutations regardless of the type of cancer. After two months of taking larotrectinib, Connor’s tumor had shrunk by an astonishing 78%, and a scan after four months of treatment showed no tumor at all. Connor continues to take the drug, available in a liquid form, twice daily and his cancer has remained in remission – an outcome his family was beginning to doubt was possible.

“This is an amazing milestone for us after a lot of difficult experiences when treatment wasn’t stopping the tumor,” said Connor’s mom, Amy Pearcy.

7. Ciara Helps Pamper Patients at Seattle Children’s

Seattle Children’s patient, Fiona Lynch, posed for a photo with Ciara after getting a makeover. Photo credit: Corky Trewin

Ciara, who often visits Seattle Children’s with her husband, Seahawk’s quarterback Russell Wilson, organized an event to help make kids at the hospital feel beautiful – both inside and out. Ciara, along with her glam squad, pampered patients with surprise makeovers, transforming Seattle Children’s into a pop-up beauty salon for one day in January.

“The event was amazing,” said Fiona Lynch, who is currently a patient at Seattle Children’s. “Ciara and her glam squad are incredible! They were all so nice and made me feel so special.”