From the Clinic to the Field, Seattle Children’s in Everett Helps Kids Continue to Persevere

When Jen Campbell watches 10-year-old Hannah step on the soccer field, she’s filled with immense pride.

“I’m very blessed to have kids who want to play sports because that’s an outlet for them,” she explained. “Not only an outlet physically, but also emotionally and socially.”

The busy mom of four not only shuffles practice, tournaments and school, but also medical appointments at Seattle Children’s North Clinic in Everett, Wash., a regional clinic with pediatric specialists in more than 25 practice areas that provides care for families closer to home.

When Campbell’s daughter Hannah was born, she was diagnosed with supraventricular tachycardia, a problem stemming from the heart’s electrical activity which causes an irregular heart rhythm, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a thickening of the heart muscle.

Several weeks later, doctors also discovered that Hannah’s heart had doubled in size and would need a life-saving transplant.

“Her heart was growing at record speeds,” Campbell recalled. “Hannah’s whole, entire heart was essentially a benign tumor. She flat-lined four times and we almost lost her.”

Under the care of the most experienced pediatric cardiologists and heart surgeons in the Pacific Northwest at Seattle Children’s Heart Center, Hannah was placed on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), a life support system, for approximately one month while she regained enough strength to be placed on the transplant list.

Hannah, pictured with her parents, received a lifesaving heart transplant at Seattle Children’s at just four months old

“When she was four months old, Hannah was finally transplanted,” Campbell said. “It was Sept. 24, 2012, on my older son’s birthday.”

After removing Hannah’s heart and further examining it, doctors identified that she had diffuse rhabdomyomatosis, a condition so rare that at the time, Hannah was the fourth child in the world to ever be diagnosed and the only known survivor. Doctors at Seattle Children’s published a case study about Hannah’s experience in The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation in April 2014.

Today, one decade post-transplant, Hannah is a happy and social child who enjoys going to school, riding her bike, playing with friends and participating in team sports.

“Her heart is doing fantastic, and her checkups have been great,” Campbell said. “She has tons of friends and loves reading, writing and math. She loves soccer, it’s her #1.”

Seattle Children’s helps support community youth sports leagues through sponsorships

For years, Campbell’s children have been involved in many of the Everett community’s youth leagues which are supported in part by Seattle Children’s to help fund things like new equipment, scholarships and jerseys.

“When Seattle Children’s comes in with sponsorships or donations to help local children, it makes a huge impact, especially since my husband recently passed away,” Campbell said. “After having a medically-fragile child, along with three other children who want to play a sport as well, it can be close to $800 every sports season for our family.”

Being part of youth sports programs has taught Hannah how to be a leader, gain eye-hand coordination and collaborate with others.

“It’s great to know that Seattle Children’s is right here,” Campbell said. “To see the logo on shirts or banners is so important in letting the community know that you are here because people don’t know when they will need you. It makes a big impact.”

Campbell says Seattle Children’s North Clinic has been a big part of their families lives due to the sheer amount of services available for her four children- including seeing providers in Physical Therapy, Otolaryngology, X-Ray, Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, and Urgent Care.

Seattle Children’s North Clinic in Everett, Wash., is a regional clinic with pediatric specialists in more than 25 practice areas that provides care for families closer to home

“They know us, and they know our family,” she said. “The kindness and compassion we see is absolutely amazing. I feel relieved when I’m going there because I know that my kids are going to get good care.”

Over the years, Hannah and her family have also made it their mission to give back to the community and Seattle Children’s- from holding blood drives, to preparing sack lunches for the unhoused, to donating hundreds of toys- including Hannah’s own birthday presents- to other hospital patients.

“One of my taglines is that God created Hannah for a purpose,” Campbell said. “She’s on this planet for a reason. I just need to let her live her best life until she really can’t. She got the heart at Seattle Children’s for a reason, and I want her to use it.”