Bretton Chitwood, 18, is an avid hockey player. He was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in 2016, but has since returned to the ice. He now plays with a custom prosthesis.
On May 18, 2016, Kara Chitwood and her son Bretton Chitwood traveled from their home in Lynden, Washington, to Seattle Children’s for what they thought would be a routine outpatient appointment to get magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) on Bretton’s ankle. Instead, they didn’t end up leaving the hospital. That day would become one they would never forget.
The pain Bretton was experiencing in his ankle was more insidious than they could have ever imagined. Doctors found a mass and said they needed to do a biopsy to determine what it was. One possibility was the unthinkable: cancer. Read full post »
In honor of National Dog Day, On the Pulse is recognizing three unique four-legged visitors who bring joy to kids at Seattle Children’s.
When a child is in need of some cheering up during a hospital stay, Seattle Children’s knows just the right MVP for the task – Most Valuable Pup that is. With their wiggling tails, wet noses and oozing charm, each of the nine volunteer therapy dogs in Seattle Children’s Animal-Assisted Activities Program harnesses their unique strengths and abilities to bring a smile to every patient they meet.
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At Seattle Children’s, Emma received the correct diagnosis and treatment for her hemangioma.
Donna West remembers her daughter, Emma, being born with a mark on her face. Part of her right cheek was raised and dark purple, like a bruise. A dermatologist diagnosed the mark as a benign extravascular hemangioma, a term that is no longer used, and said not to be concerned. A hemangioma is a collection of extra blood vessels in the skin.
However, as years passed, the hemangioma grew larger and began to hurt. When Emma, now 11, would hang upside down in the playground, it would throb. If she coughed, the mark would get inflamed and shiny.
“When she would have a coughing spell from her asthma or a cold, the pain was like clockwork,” West said. “We were told it could go away, but that wasn’t happening.”
Until receiving care from Dr. Jonathan Perkins, clinic chief of vascular anomalies at Seattle Children’s, who performed surgery on Emma with the help of a new technique called facial nerve mapping, the family didn’t have an accurate diagnosis for the hemangioma or knowledge of treatment options. Read full post »
When other kids ask Reid Watkins, 8, about the leg braces he wears, he likes to tell them they help him ‘walk awesome.’
The outgoing third grader was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus at 16 months old. Until undergoing two surgeries over the course of two years at Seattle Children’s, both conditions had limited his ability to walk on his own.
That made taking part in this year’s Hydrocephalus Association Seattle WALK to End Hydrocephalus all the more important to Reid. For the last seven years, the Watkins family has participated in the walk at Magnuson Park as a way to raise awareness about the condition. Read full post »
Brothers Zeke (left) and Isaiah (right) were both born with a rare condition. They received care from Seattle Children’s Reconstructive Pelvic Medicine Program.
Ezekiel, or “Zeke,” 7, and Isaiah, 5, had a life-threatening medical condition at birth. They were both adopted from China with anorectal malformations, which affect about 1 in every 5,000 babies. Babies born with these malformations have no opening at the end of the digestive tract where the anus normally is, requiring complex surgery.
After receiving emergency surgery in China, both received individualized follow-up treatments from Seattle Children’s Reconstructive Pelvic Medicine Program, which is the most comprehensive and experienced program of its kind in the Western U.S. The program brings together the knowledge and skills of experts from General Surgery, Gastroenterology, Motility, Gynecology, Urology, Radiology and Pathology.
“Seattle Children’s has been fantastic, and everyone that we have come across has been great,” said mother Robyn Ross. “Everyone even knew us by name, and they made the whole experience very easy to navigate.” Read full post »
Ramon Little, 9, has been rock climbing since he was 5 years old. Seattle Children’s and Outdoors for All partner to give children with limb differences the opportunity to rock climb. Photo by: Scott Filipiak
This weekend, a group of Seattle Children’s patients and families got together outside the walls of the hospital for a unique social – to climb a 30-foot rock climbing wall. For 8 years, Seattle Children’s and Outdoors for All have partnered together to allow children with limb differences the opportunity to rock climb.
Dr. Suzanne Steinman, a physician in the Hand and Upper Extremity Program who helps organize the event, says the social is a way to provide families the opportunity to get together and for kids to see they’re not alone.
“Every child who attends the event has something in common: they all have unique limbs,” said Steinman. “From congenital abnormalities of the hand or foot, to losses from amputation or trauma, kids get to see other kids with arms and legs just like theirs.”
Kenna Chapman, custom events and program manager at Outdoors for All, added, “Events like this make me feel like our work really does enrich the lives of people through recreation.” Read full post »
Chloe Howard, 18, was born with a severe and atypical form of a common foot deformity called clubfoot. About one in every 1,000 babies is born with clubfoot. She underwent two extensive operations on her foot in California before her first birthday. After she and her family moved to Seattle, she underwent a final corrective surgery at Seattle Children’s. Throughout her childhood, she wore corrective casts and braces and spent countless hours in the hospital.
After being bullied and assaulted by her classmates in high school because of her deformity, Howard bravely decided to stand up and share her story in hopes that her words would inspire others to embrace their imperfections and end bullying. Today, she’s the author of the book “Stand Beautiful,” and is on a mission to redefine beauty. Below is her story and powerful message to others. Read full post »
Bear Brother, 1, underwent emergency spine surgery when he was diagnosed with a neurological condition known as a Chiari malformation.
Instead of picking up balloons and cupcakes, Lisa Hannigan and Robert Brother found themselves waiting in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Seattle Children’s one day before their son’s first birthday. In less than 36 hours, they had watched as their perfectly healthy son, Bear Brother, lost use of his arms and hands before he was rushed into emergency spine surgery for a neurological condition known as a Chiari malformation.
“It all happened so quickly,” said Hannigan. “After Bear’s daycare called me at work, we got to the Toppenish emergency center around 10 a.m. First thing the next morning he was going into surgery at Seattle Children’s.” Read full post »
In honor of LGBTQ+ Pride Month, Rosy Delamarter, a 17-year-old patient at Seattle Children’s Gender Clinic, shares her story about discovering her gender identity, the happiness that it brought her, as well as the support she found from friends, family and others in her life during her transition.
For years something inside me felt “off.”
As a little kid I never thought much of the fact that I had been assigned male at birth. Gender roles were equally unimportant in my mind — I played with Hot Wheels and Polly Pocket toys without a second thought. I was a little kid, after all.
It wasn’t until elementary school when I started hanging out with macho, playfully aggressive boys that I became critical of my own gender expression. I didn’t just stop playing with Polly Pocket toys; I was embarrassed that I had ever even touched them. After all, I was a boy, so I was supposed to shoot Nerf guns, punch my friends and gag at everything pink, right?
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Through Seattle Children’s Celiac Disease Program, twin sisters Claire and Emma learned how to adopt a new gluten-free diet in to their active, athletic lifestyle.
Claire and Emma Brennan are 13-year-olds who are always on-the-run.
Whether it’s sprinting across the basketball court or flying to their next volleyball tournament halfway across the country, these twin sisters stop at nothing to achieve athletic excellence.
“Claire and Emma have sports practice almost every day of the week,” said their mother, Cathy Brennan. “We’re always on-the-go, so I have to make sure they have easy access to snacks they can eat to keep energized.”
The active teens burn calories at a rapid pace given their hours of intensive sports practice, and so a balanced diet is key to performing at their best.
However, food prep takes some careful planning in the Brennan household as both girls are on a strict gluten-free diet to manage celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that they were diagnosed with in September 2017.
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