My name is Makenna Schwab and I’m 14 years old. Over the course of my life, I have been treated at Seattle Children’s Hospital where an amazing team of doctors have performed over 15 life-changing and life-saving surgeries for me.
I was born with a rare connective tissue disorder called Larsen syndrome, which causes dislocations in my joints, instability in my spine and trouble with my breathing. I’ve had to face a lot of challenges, but rather than let my disability hinder me from what I love to do, I decided to embrace it and try to use my experience to create something positive.
When I was 8 years old, I asked my mom if I could sell cookies and lemonade and donate all of the proceeds to Seattle Children’s as a way to give back. Since then, I’ve worked on a variety of projects — from bake sales and toy drives to making packs of food for inpatient families. The money I’ve raised has helped to provide uncompensated care to families at Seattle Children’s. It has also allowed me to provide red wagons for patients in the hospital and purchase new medical equipment to help treat kids like me.
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Longtime Seattle Children’s patient Makenna Schwab excitedly waits to cut the the ribbon off the low dose radiation X-ray machine she raised $25,000 for.
Patients at Seattle Children’s are benefiting from yet another fundraising project from 14-year-old Makenna Schwab, whose fearless determination in raising thousands of dollars has allowed the hospital to purchase a special X-ray machine to help treat other kids like her.
To celebrate Makenna’s latest fundraising project, which collected $25,000 for the purchase of a 3D low dose radiation X-ray machine called the EOS, Seattle Children’s threw her a heartfelt thank you party. At her celebration, there was no shortage of smiles, laughter and hugs — all for one special teen whose enthusiasm to give is boundless.
“This was more than I ever expected,” said Makenna. “It was so great seeing everyone who has supported me over the years in one room. It made me feel really special.”
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Kenley Teller, 6, snowboards with two prosthetic legs.
Watch 6-year-old Kenley Teller snowboard down a slope and you’ll notice two things right away: a big smile on her face and her fiery red hair billowing in the wind beneath her helmet. What is not apparent are her two prosthetic legs.
“She’s free when she snowboards,” said Kenley’s mother, Mary Teller. “I don’t want to say she feels normal, because how do you define normal anyway? She may need to do things a little different than other people, but she can still do them. I’m constantly in awe of her.” Read full post »
Tara Peerenboom is one of 35 licensed athletic trainers in the Seattle Children’s Athletic Trainers Program.
They are a constant presence on the sidelines of sporting events, but they don’t adorn a jersey or get a trophy at the end of a season. We see them as they spring into action when an athlete suffers an injury. They run onto the field or court and quickly care for an athlete writhing in pain, but their time in the limelight is short lived, at least from what we see from the stands.
What you don’t see are the hours athletic trainers spend before, during and after games preparing, rehabilitating or counseling athletes and coaches. And so, in recognition of Athletic Training Month, On the Pulse shadowed Tara Peerenboom, an athletic trainer at Seattle Children’s, to get a behind the scenes look at her role both on and off the field.
“People see us on the sidelines and think of us as the individuals who give water to athletes,” said Peerenboom. “They don’t see the time we spend in the athletic training room before, after and during a game or practice. We’re not just medical providers. Our athletes trust us, and we’re there for them during difficult times. Taping and getting ready for games is a small part of our work.” Read full post »
Maggie Burke, 9, aspires to be an Olympic gymnast.
When 9-year-old Maggie Burke broke her elbow after an unusual landing while vaulting at gymnastics practice, she was concerned her dream may be in jeopardy.
She’s a competitive gymnast with a dream to compete in the 2024 Olympics, and so when she found out her injury would require surgery and a cast, she was feeling anxious. She never needed surgery before and her emergency trip to Seattle Children’s was the Burke family’s first trip to the hospital.
“During surgery prep, the staff found out about Maggie’s passion for gymnastics and her dream,” said Maggie’s mother, Odilia Burke. “We felt greatly supported by kind, caring and knowledgeable people that would soon have our daughter in their hands of expertise. What we weren’t expecting was the surprise we received when Maggie came out of recovery.”
In the operating room, while doctors expertly cared for Maggie’s elbow and set her arm in a cast, a surgical technologist went to work designing something special just for Maggie. It was a small gesture, but just what the doctor ordered. Read full post »
Young pitchers can avoid throwing injuries by following some simple guidelines.
According to The American Journal of Sports Medicine, more than 15 million people will be playing baseball and softball this spring and summer, nearly 5.7 million of which are children in eighth grade or lower. Dr. Michael Saper, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist at Seattle Children’s, has some useful information about how young players can avoid arm injuries.
Before joining Seattle Children’s, Saper trained under Dr. James Andrews, a renowned orthopedic surgeon who has treated many professional athletes, including hall of fame pitchers Nolan Ryan and John Smoltz. It was in working with Andrews that Saper developed his passion and expertise for the treatment and prevention of throwing elbow and shoulder issues.
Saper noticed injuries that were common in high-level athletes occurring in younger athletes and realized that education about how to stay healthy is just as important as treating the patient after a serious arm injury occurs.
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Priscilla, 7, has always been encouraged to try new things. Although she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 1 years old, she hasn’t let it slow her down. She lives by the motto: The sky is the limit.
Throughout 7-year-old Priscilla Campos’ life, she’s been empowered by her parents to try new things. Her mother, Shannon Cruz, says their family lives by a simple motto: The sky is the limit.
It’s a lesson Priscilla has taken to heart. She’s always believed she could do anything, and she’s proven she can.
“She reaches for the sky,” said Ruben Campos, Priscilla’s father. “There are no limitations. I always tell her she can do anything, and then she does. She’s incredible.” Read full post »
Lynch posed for a photo with Ciara after getting a makeover. Photo credit: Corky Trewin
Today, patients at Seattle Children’s were pampered thanks to Ciara, who along with her glam squad, surprised children at the hospital with complimentary makeovers.
“Every time I visit Seattle Children’s, I see how strong these children are who are going through such difficult battles,” said Ciara. “I wanted to help make them feel as strong and beautiful as they are to me, and to let them know I’m thinking about them. I often hear that I inspire these kids, but they’re really the ones that inspire me. They are the real superheroes of today.”
Ciara, who often visits Seattle Children’s with her husband, Seahawk’s quarterback Russell Wilson, wanted to organize an event to help make kids at the hospital feel beautiful – both inside and out. And so, for the day, Seattle Children’s was transformed into a beauty salon for “Ciara’s Makeover Monday by Revlon.” Read full post »
Morgan Wood has been coming to Seattle Children’s since he was born — and as an adult, he continues to benefit from recreational and social skills classes at the Alyssa Burnett Adult Life Center.
He is known among both friends and providers for sharing his life mantras, which he developed to work through challenges related to living with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Below, Morgan shares six of his mantras and other interesting insights from his life experience.
My name is Morgan Wood and I’m 26 years old. I was born very premature, weighing 729 grams, which is less than two pounds. Because of my weight and a bad infection I had at birth, they tell me I’m sort of a miracle. Read full post »
Geniqua Harris, a Seattle Children’s athletic trainer in the Tukwila School District at Foster High School, has spent the last four years on the sidelines of practices and sporting events helping to keep young athletes in the game and injury-free.
“I’ve seen many athletes grow up right before my eyes,” said Harris. “I’ve been working with them since they were small ninth graders. Now, they’re graduating. It’s really rewarding to hear the kids and coaches tell me how much they appreciate me. I’m just doing my job, but I know it means a lot them.”
Throughout the years, Harris has seen a lot of injuries, from common sprains and strains to devastating season-ending fractures. She’s worked with athletes from a wide variety of sports and has helped them get back to the field as safely and quickly as possible after injury. However, there has always been one thing she’s always needed more of: time – time to serve more athletes, tape more ankles and help more kids through rehabilitation.
Today, thanks to the Seattle Seahawks and the NFL Foundation, time will no longer be an issue for Harris. Read full post »