Ryker Ringstad on his first day of preschool
Someone forgot to tell Ryker Ringstad that he was a patient at Seattle Children’s, not a fundraiser.
A happy, gregarious kiddo with blonde hair and a playful spirit, Ryker bounces around his room at the hospital. He climbs on his dad, Paul, and mother, Sarah. Watching him move, you’d never guess that he just underwent his 14th procedure for the lymphatic anomalies in his tongue and neck. Wearing a Seahawks t-shirt, I ask him who his favorite player is and without missing a beat, he answers “Russell Wilson!”
Ryker hasn’t had an easy path, but as his mother says, “he is one strong, resilient little man.”
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Russell Wilson walked the runway with three young cancer survivors for a special fashion show benefiting Seattle Children’s Strong Against Cancer.
Last week, the MoPOP in Seattle became a glamorous gateway to fashion and fun that benefited Seattle Children’s Strong Against Cancer, a national philanthropic initiative with worldwide implications for potentially curing childhood cancers without the harmful affects of chemotherapy or radiation.
In partnership with Alaska Airlines, renowned fashion designer and Seattle Children’s supporter Luly Yang presented a fashion show to unveil her new collection, while generously sharing the runway spotlight with honored guests representing the important cause.
The show was kicked off by three pint-sized models – 4-year-old Greta Oberhofer, 5-year-old Lucy Watters and 7-year-old Mason Nettleton – each a courageous cancer fighter.
Alaska Airlines paired three of their pilots and captains with each of the kids as they individually strutted down the runway in their custom-made ensembles designed by Yang.
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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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In recognition of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, On the Pulse shares a heart-wrenching story about a mother whose son suffered debilitating injuries at the hands of a babysitter. Through the pain and daily struggle of caring for a fully disabled child, she has become a driving force for advocacy and awareness for child abuse prevention.
What began as a normal day for Jamie Thompson, ended in a tragedy that would forever change her life.
On May 20, 2010, Thompson received an unexpected call at work. It was her 8-month-old son’s babysitter.
“I was told he wasn’t breathing and paramedics had arrived to the babysitter’s home to help resuscitate him,” said Thompson. “As I frantically left work, I received a second call — this time from my husband.”
With news from her husband that her son, Colby, was not responding, Jamie drove straight to Seattle Children’s where he was urgently transported to by helicopter.
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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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Rap artist Desiigner and seven-year-old cancer patient Ewan Lill show off their superhero artwork.
On Monday, patients in Seattle Children’s Cancer Unit were given the special opportunity to meet a rap superstar and collect some stylish swag from Love Your Melon, an apparel brand that has given more than 90,000 hats to kids battling cancer and over $2.6 million to support pediatric cancer research.
After wrapping up his Seattle concert the night before, Desiigner, best known for his Billboard chart-topping song “Panda”, made a surprise pit stop to visit kids at Seattle Children’s. During his visit, Desiigner passed out Love Your Melon hats and met with patients, giving impromptu rap performances and creating colorful superheroes.
“It’s a blessing being able to visit these kids,” said Desiigner. “I want to do what I can to make them happy, and working with Love Your Melon is helping me do that.”
Penny Lees, clinical manager of Seattle Children’s Child Life Department, was thrilled when she learned Love Your Melon and Desiigner wanted to spread their generosity to the hospital’s young cancer patients.
“The work that Love Your Melon is doing to help to raise awareness for childhood cancer is incredibly impactful,” said Lees. “Their interest in coming to the hospital to meet the kids who inspire their mission is a wonderful thing to see.”
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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 »
Gio Caro, 6, helped bring holiday cheer to patients at Seattle Children’s.
The holidays arrived early this year for families at Seattle Children’s and Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic (OBCC). Amazon brightened the day for patients and families by making one of their largest – and most special – deliveries of the year.
“We so appreciate the important work Seattle Children’s and Odessa Brown does for families in our Seattle community,” said Sam Kennedy, an Amazon spokesperson. “We are proud to give back to such amazing organizations and to put a smile on people’s faces during this special time of year.”
The hospital was filled with excitement as patients and families gathered around a giant Amazon gift box in the inpatient playroom at the hospital. Giomoni (Gio) Caro, 6, a long-time patient at Seattle Children’s, was given the honor of unveiling what was inside the box – a brand new Kindle For Kids Bundle with the latest E-reader for every child in the hospital and a $50 gift card for families in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) – and was designated as an “Elf for a Day” to help spread holiday cheer throughout the hospital. Read full post »
Reef, 16 months old, poses for a photo with Richard Sherman.
Blue Tuesday at Seattle Children’s was a little more spirited today thanks to a special visit from the Seattle Seahawks players and members of the Sea Gals. Patients and families were all smiles as they got to meet their favorite football players during the team’s annual Captain’s Blitz visit.
“It was so exciting,” said Joanna Gromadzki. Gromadzki’s 16-month-old son, Reef Gromadzki-Johnson, has been a patient since he was 2 months old after he was diagnosed with pulmonary vein stenosis. “Seattle Children’s is like a second home to us, we’ve been here for so long. Today was special. We’re huge fans of the Seahawks!”
The Seahawks visit really brightened the day for Reef and other 12s in the hospital, and brought holiday cheer to some young and loyal fans. Read full post »
Skyler, 17, poses with a sock puppet he designed.
When Skyler Hamilton was born, his mother called him her miracle baby. He was perfect.
It wasn’t until he turned 7 years old when the family noticed something wasn’t quite right. What started as a limp quickly progressed into something unimaginable.
Three months later, Skyler was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive brain tumor, medulloblastoma.
On August 13, 2006, Skyler was admitted to Seattle Children’s. Four days later, he had surgery to have the tumor removed.
“His tumor was so advanced,” said Margaret Hamilton, Skyler’s mom. “It was the worst nightmare you could imagine.” Read full post »