Aaliyah's Story It was right after Thanksgiving 2003. Aaliyah was only 1 month old. She couldn't eat and we were having tests run on her for Paloric Stenosis. The ultrasound revealed that she did not meet the guidelines for surgery. So we kept praying and she kept getting worse until finally we brought her to Children's Hospital. We went through the E.R. and I begged the doctor to admit her even though he didn't believe it was anything serious. He barely checked on her saying that all that was...
My Miracle By Sherri Schoentrup My child was fine at birth but after she got tubes she got sick and could not get rid of the illness and once she turned 1 she was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis and from this day on she is as healthy as can be. The CF team is a miracle of God's light. Give them a big thanks every time you see them.
I am 65 years old now, and I have not had any problems with my sacrum since I was 15. I have felt fine for years. 1999 I had to come back to Kirklin Clinic with a cyst in my spinal column. Dr. Paramore removed it by surgery, and stopped the sciatica pain. Now, I have two cysts under my sacrum and nothing can be done about this. It is something I have to live with. I was 14 years old in Feb. 11th and in the Children's Hospital. I had my 15th birthday in the hospital. I loved the nurses and the...
Camellia Bass experienced early complications with the pregnancy of her son, Adrian “Chanze.” She began bleeding at 13 weeks and her obstetrician gave her bed rest orders. She was monitored around the clock in a Montgomery hospital for the next six weeks and later transferred to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Women & Infants Center after her water broke at 19 weeks. “They were trying to prolong my pregnancy as long as they could,” she said. “I gave birth to Chanze at 27 weeks,...
home from being born the night before. Adam had wonderful doctors and all the nurses and patients on 4 Tower are like family. We still communicate with each other. We were sad to see doctor Castleberry retire. Of all the things I remember the doctors telling us that the treatment would stunt Adam's growth and he would have a learning curve. He is 15 now and is 6"3 and is at Montevallo as we speak taking college prep classes and bench pressing 400+ pounds. God is good. When Adriane was 7 years...
Adam Jeffrey Gossen (A.J.) was born July 12, 1995 to Rochelle and Jeff Gossen. Rochelle had a normal pregnancy and expected a normal delivery; however, immediately after A.J. was born the doctors placed him in an incubator. His skin was blue due to poor circulation and they didn’t know what was causing him to have difficulty breathing. They also realized that bones were missing from his arms. He was diagnosed with TAR Syndrome, a genetic disorder which stands for thrombocytopenia-absent radius,...
Nineteen-year-old Al Guarisco from Daphne, Alabama is a quiet young man who loves math, music, building complex Lego models and beachgoing with his younger brothers. His medical journey has been long and winding, but he and his family are grateful for the care and guidance provided by Children’s of Alabama. Al was born with a birth defect called a congenital diaphragmatic hernia, or a hole in the diaphragm. Ninety percent of his right diaphragm was missing, allowing his liver and some...
Alayna's Story By alayna McQuay When I was in second grade I had a really bad ear infection. We went to the doctor and he immediately sent us to Children's Hospital. It was an ear cyst. My mother and I stayed at a hotel right beside the hospital. The next morning I had to go in for surgery, of, course I was scared, but I had to do it. Once it was all over, back at home, I had to go for another yearly checkup at my doctor and once again he told us to go back to Children's Hospital. They had...
One day Alex Cook was a sophomore at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) worrying about class schedules and homework, the next he was facing the reality of a cancer diagnosis. “It all started with a swollen lymph node in his neck,” said Alex’s stepfather, Michael Lowe. “He did a couple rounds of antibiotics, but it did not go away.” Alex was eventually referred to Children’s of Alabama following a biopsy and an initial diagnosis of lymphoma. More testing revealed that Alex had T-cell...
Ross and Ingrid Thompson only thought they knew the meaning of the word “hope” when they named their newborn daughter Alexandra Hope. But 12 years later, the word would take on an even deeper meaning when Alex was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It began as a typical Monday at Hewitt Trussville Middle School, where Alex is a 7th grader. “I was fine and then I felt like a hammer had struck my forehead,” Alex remembers. “My head felt really heavy and I couldn’t turn my head. I made it to the...
Eight year old Alex Swader was competing in a national dance competition in July 2007, when his mom, Michele, hugged him and found a small knot on his back. Michele says, “It was the size of a pea and seemed like a bruise.” Three weeks later, the bruise was still there. Alex’s parents took him to see a pediatrician who initially diagnosed it as a type of benign tumor and told them to watch it for changes. Three months later, the tumor began to grow rapidly and Alex was referred to a surgeon....
After receiving the diagnosis of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia at 36 weeks gestation, we were sent from the Mobile/Daphne area to Birmingham to deliver at UAB. Alfred (Al) was born in the worst of shape and sent immediately to Children's Hospital and placed on ECMO. He fought against all the odds, coming off ECMO after two weeks, through surgery to place a synthetic diaphragm, off the ventilator at six weeks, through more surgery and ventilator time while two months old, then finally home at...
Submitted by Mileah Lowe Allexionna Pyatt was born on October 25, 2000, in Enterprise, Alabama where she currently lives now with her aunt Mileah Lowe and two cousins that she knows as her brothers Kavontae Lowe (13) and Jemuarian Lowe (12). She is a very smart and bright little lady. She enjoys shopping, playing with make up, playing with Bratz dolls and spending time with her family. Allexionna is a very special child and has been through a lot in the past couple of years. In September...
Alyssa came to Children’s Hospital in June of 2009 where she was treated for subglottic stenosis. A graft was done with a piece of cartilage from her ribs. Unfortunately it did not take and Aly ended up with a tracheotomy. Through all of this Aly remained strong and happy. She was a fighter. Considering she spent the first six months of her life in the NICU at other hospitals from being born premature. She never gave up. During her one month stay with Children’s she showed her strengths. She...
I was five and a half years old and in kindergarten when I was first diagnosed with acute lymphocyctic leukemia. For the next two and a half years Children's in Birmingham became a home away from home. I love Dr. Castleberry and all the nurses and staff members there. I am now 17 years old and a senior in high school. I love to dance --tap, jazz, and lyrical, but my favorite is pointe. I have been taking since I was three years old except for two years when I was too sick to take it. I even...
My mom and dad found out when I was a baby that there was a hole in my heart. The blood was still flowing through pretty good but the doctors said that it would weaken my heart if I ever had a baby or as I got older. My parents, either hoping for grandchildren or a long life for me, decided that I needed to have the surgery. The doctors said it was better to do when I was a little older. I was five years old when my parents took me to Children's. I would not have recognized it as a hospital....
Dr. Charles Law is my hero! Because of my CP it was very hard for my mom to give me a bath and change my clothes. Then we heard of this new thing called a "baclofen pump" and decided to call Dr. Law. We set up an appointment for a trial dose to see if it would work on me. Well, it did and I am now on my second pump. Without this pump and medicine, my mom would not be able to take as good of care of me as she does. This medicine helps to keep me from being so tight in my arms and legs and...
Our daughter weighed only nine pounds at age 9 months. She ate, but couldn't keep it down. She had seizures. After several stays at hospitals in Dothan, we were transferred to Children’s Hospital for diagnosis. After many tests, she was diagnosed as “failure to thrive” due to developmental delay. Today she is 25 and attends Vivian B. Adams School for the handicapped in Ozark. She has made great progress, can read, write, works both in the school's greenhouse and as a school greeter. She goes...
Shortly after moving to Alabama with the military, our then five and a half month old daughter Amy started having some unusual symptoms. Unable to find anything, our pediatrician referred us to Children's for a direct admittance. An ultrasound showed a large mass in her pelvic region. CT scans proved "concerning" and a biopsy moved us onto 4 Tower, the oncology ward with the "C" word. . .CANCER. Amy underwent several rounds of chemo before finally going to surgery to remove the tumor (and...
Today it’s commonplace for Jeffrey and Amber Albright to watch their daughter, Analeigh, run and play as children do. It’s a sight the Albrights don’t take for granted, as it wasn’t long ago Analeigh learned to walk again – twice. A 2-year-old Analeigh fell ill with a stomach virus, and when Amber checked in on her daughter early one morning, she found Analeigh unresponsive but breathing. After being rushed to a local hospital, Analeigh was brought by ambulance...
Andy from Winfield, Ala. was diagnosed as having a peanut allergy by his pediatrician when he was 5 months old. A couple days before being seen, a scratch on his forehead and a small rash on his face were noticed. His mother thought it was because of an allergy to baby food he was fed that day which caused his face to breakout. The next day, Andy's face was swollen and the rash had gotten worse. He had blisters on his back and in his groin area. That’s when he was taken to see his pediatrician,...
On Feb 10, 1999, our second child was born—Charles Andrew Smith II. At 8:05 a.m. a hush fell over the operating room as Dr. Reed reached in the incision and lifted our son into the world. Nothing could have prepared us for what we were about to see. Andrew's head was shaped like a football. Dr. Reed leaned over to me and said my baby had hydrocephalus and a neonatologist was on his way. Dr. Godoy told my husband our son had spina bifida. Andrew was stabilized and medically evacuated from...
In January of 2007, Ann Presley Stewart of Enterprise had surgery for a bacterial infection and spent a week at Children’s Hospital. Her parents, Chad and Rebecca, report that their youngest daughter is completely healthy now – “thanks to God and the wonderful people at Children’s.” The infection seemingly came from nowhere. But doctors at Children’s Hospital were very familiar with the type of infection Ann Presley had. They explained to the Stewarts that, because the joints of young...
On July 11, 2005, we were blessed with a beautiful baby girl named Anna. My husband said the first thing he did while holding her was count all 10 fingers and all 10 toes. Life was perfect until one checkup when Anna was 4 months old. Her pediatrician noticed that her head had not rounded out and was still pointed at the top. Later that day, we discovered it was caused by her soft spots fusing together much too soon. It was determined that Anna had Craniosynostosis. She was immediately referred...
Thirteen-year-old Anna Litttleton loves to run – and she’s good at it. So good, in fact, that coaches at Mountain Brook High School recruited her to the varsity cross-country team last season while she was still a 7th grader. The team went on to win the 6A state title and Anna achieved All-State (Top 15) status. But when Anna was born, all her parents were hoping for was that one day she would be able to walk properly and have normal looking feet. “Our obstetrician recognized at birth that...
An ultrasound of Nick and Emily Wignall’s daughter, Anna Robin, at 28 weeks in utero revealed a congenital heart defect. While the discovery was an unforeseen surprise, the course of action was not. “We were quickly referred to pediatric cardiology at Children’s of Alabama,” said Emily, also a nurse practitioner at Children’s. “It was great because we were able to talk to the doctors and have a plan in place well before her birth to best take care of her.” Anna Robin was diagnosed with...
At the age of 15 I had such a speech problem that I could not even say my own name (Sue). In the first grade I chose an advanced story to read to the teacher for the first time. In front of the whole class, she advised me that she did not know if I could read because she could not understand a word that I said. In the 6th grade, my principal pointed me out in front of the entire student body and told me that I could speak better if I tried. In high school, I would hear other students say "She's...
There was something about Annabelle Leigh Jones that didn’t seem right to her mother, Victoria. Annabelle was the youngest of Victoria’s three daughters. All were happy, healthy babies, but by age 2, Annabelle seemed a little more sensitive than her sisters. She would wake up in the night and cry, and was more susceptible to infections than her sisters had been at that age. When little Annabelle suffered a seizure, Victoria knew something wasn’t right even when her pediatrician said the...
Ansley Mangus “We’ve rediscovered popcorn,” Leslie Mangus said as she watches her daughter, Ansley, reach into the bag for a handful of Boom Chicka Pop, a snack the little girl savors as she waits in the exam room for one of her regular checkups at Children’s. Ansley smiles as she chews, enjoying every morsel of the salty treat she couldn’t eat for the four years she waited for a liver transplant. Ansley was born healthy in 2006, growing and developing as expected. But at age 5, she was...
When Ashley and Anthony Rowett welcomed their first child, Anthony, all seemed well. Then everything changed in an instant. “That very next day, we thought everything was fine, but the doctor came in and told me that he thought Anthony had Down syndrome,” Ashley said. “After getting hit by that news, it was followed up with him telling me that he also thought there were issues with his heart.” Testing confirmed the Down syndrome diagnosis and revealed Anthony had an atrioventricular canal...
It all started when I was 15 years old. I got home from school, did my work, ate, and took a shower. While showering I turned around to rinse off. All of a sudden I got really dizzy, so I leaned my head up against the wall. Then everything went black. The next thing I know I am staring up at the ceiling of my house and my mom's asking me what happened. I had passed out. We went to my pediatrician right away and blood was drawn. My thyroid levels were too high. They started me on medicines and...
At age 14, April and her friend, Alicia, were out riding four-wheelers when they each went down a cliff and were thrown off the vehicles. April immediately went to her friend’s rescue. “We tried to hit reverse before going over but it didn’t have reverse on this particular four-wheeler. I went over first and tried to yell for Alicia to just jump off, but she didn’t hear me. When I was able to get up I could hear her crying and the four-wheeler was on top of her. I had a really bad headache...
Art Morgan’s first visit to Children’s was in 1955. By the time he was six years old, he’d had three surgeries to repair his harelip through state-of-the-art plastic surgery procedures, which were rare at the time. While he was too young to remember the first two visits, his mother fills in the gaps as she recalls every detail as if it were yesterday. Betty Morgan recalls being a young nervous mother bringing her eight week old son to Birmingham. In 1955 she had a choice to take her child to...
Ashley Joslin was once a girl with a lot of big dreams. She wanted to dance. She wanted to play the piano. And she wanted to be a doctor. But first, the New York native would have to overcome a few obstacles along the way. Ashley was born with a rare birth defect that caused her left hip and leg to be badly deformed. In addition, two fingers on her left hand were fused together. Jessica Joslin, Ashley’s mom, said, “The doctor just had a funny look on his face and you could tell something was...
What Jon and Debbie Moore, Ashley’s parents, had to say about Ashley’s journey. “At the age of 4, our daughter was diagnosed with cancer. Fortunately, we had a world-class children’s hospital within driving distance. Every three weeks, for fifteen months, Ashley was at Children’s Hospital for in-patient care. During this time she received chemotherapy and other treatments. Even though the medicines made her sick, she looked forward to seeing the doctors and staff who made her time there...
"Ashleigh Otis" Michelle Otis Ashleigh was sent from East Baptist in Montgomery to CHS on June 6, 2006 with pulmonary distress. Admitted into the NICU, she developed CLE which caused her to have the removal of part of the left upper lobe of her lung. Two weeks later she had the other part of her lung removed due to expansion and causing a shift in her heart and collapsing the right side of the lungs. After extensive treatments through all that, she was traiched and put on a ventilator for...
Ashley was born at 27 weeks gestation. She weighed 2 lbs.10 oz. and was transferred to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham. She suffered from a grade Four Brain Hemorrhage and a serious fungal infection that was in her blood, urine, and cerebral fluid. Ashley was diagnosed with having cerebral palsy and required a shunt in her brain. Dr Jerry Oakes has been her neurosurgeon since she was born and performed all her shunt revisions. Dr. Conklin has been another provider for surgery and braces for...
“Ashley's Miracle” Submitted by Ashley Trammell Rasberry When I was 12 I had my appendix removed at Lakeview Community Hospital. But my condition continued to worsen. I was in and out of hospitals from September - November. I continued to get weaker and before long I was unable to move on my own. On Dec. 5, 1998 I awoke with bruises covering my body. I was then airlifted to Children’s Hospital. I later found out I was the first one to ride on their new helicopter. I was admitted into PICU...
When I was 13 years old, I was with a group of friends at a local parade near Huntsville, Ala. Several of us were riding four-wheelers without helmets, which was not out of the ordinary. The last thing I can remember from that day was an older friend warning us, “You should put a helmet on before you get hurt!” If only I had listened. From what I have been told, my friend driving the four-wheeler hit a landscaping timber in a yard. This catapulted me off the back seat approximately 7 feet in...
Jerri Ayers knew her daughter Ashton was special from the moment she was born seven and a half weeks early on April 8, 1998. She had lost two pregnancies before she conceived Ashton and could tell this baby was a fighter. Fourteen years later, as Ashton clung to life at Children’s of Alabama following a serious traumatic brain injury, Jerri found comfort in remembering how Ashton struggled as a newborn. “I knew I didn’t go through what I did with Ashton then for her to be taken away from me...
Small Blessings By Bernice for Andrew & Carolyn Eva Nicole Reeves was a confident child who won numerous academic and athletic awards. Nevertheless, as many children do, she stumbled in her late teens. She celebrated her 22nd birthday in August and we felt she had turned the corner and was beginning to find her footing again. A morning news program announced breaking news of an accident with injuries on Thursday September 14, 2006. No names were given but we thought of our daughter and called...
With his blonde hair, big smile and energetic personality, Auston Cagle appeared to be a thriving 6-year-old in January 2010. “He was a completely normal, healthy child. The only time he ever went to the doctor was for routine immunizations and a virus or two,” said Auston’s mother, Amy. On the morning of Jan. 21, 2010, Amy noticed that Auston’s lymph nodes seemed swollen. “He had some knots on his neck but he wasn’t running a fever. He didn’t want me to keep him home to go to the doctor...
When Ava was born, she was perfectly healthy. After about three months, I started to notice that Ava was not progressing along as she should. She wasn't moving her legs at all and she wouldn't lift her head up if I placed her on her tummy. At Ava's fourth month check up I mentioned it to her Doctor and they decided to run some tests. After x-rays, MRI's, and a muscle biopsy we were told that we would have to wait almost two months for the test results to come back. Finally, when Ava reached 7...
It’s unlikely Ava Joye Hays will remember her time spent at Children’s of Alabama, but her Beads of Courage will tell the story of a quiet strength and resilience beyond her years. Ava, now in the process of being adopted by husband and wife Matthew and Jennifer Hays of McCalla, Alabama, was diagnosed with limb abnormalities prior to meeting the Hayses. Ava’s pediatrician, Victoria “Tori” Anderson, M.D., of Greenvale Pediatrics Brook Highland, referred her to Children’s main hospital in...
When Ava Kate Hollingsworth was first diagnosed with cancer, she didn’t have any symptoms. Her parents, Lisa and Shane, noticed a bump on her stomach one day, and an ultrasound later revealed then 3-year-old Ava Kate had a large mass that required surgery. “It was her birthday the day we went in to Children’s of Alabama to meet with Dr. Robert Russell, her surgeon,” Lisa said. “Dr. Russell told us that it was more than likely cancer, but he couldn’t be sure until they did a biopsy. He could...
Avery Ernsberger was born December 14, 2002. His mom, Deanna, was overjoyed, to say the least; however, she noticed that Avery spit up a lot. She knew babies spit up, but Avery was different. His was extreme. “I could tell something wasn’t right. I was afraid he would choke in his sleep.” After many sleepless days and nights, Avery was diagnosed at five weeks with Pyloric Stenosis, which was the cause of his severe reflux. He had his first surgery at seven weeks in Dothan. Two weeks after his...
Visiting the hospital emergency room at any age can be a frightening experience, especially when you’re just 3 years old. But, fortunately, children like Avery Pilcher of Birmingham will find some very special friends in the Children’s of Alabama emergency department – certified child life specialists. Child life specialists are members of the health care team who are professionally trained in understanding and meeting the unique needs of children and teens in the healthcare environment. They...
Visiting the hospital emergency room at any age can be a frightening experience, especially when you’re just 3 years old. But, fortunately, children like Avery Pilcher of Birmingham will find some very special friends in the Children’s of Alabama emergency department: certified child life specialists. Child life specialists are members of the health care team who are professionally trained in understanding and meeting the unique needs of children and teens in the healthcare environment. They...
Avery turned 4 years old in December 2011. When she went for her checkup in January 2012, everything was good. She developed a cold toward the end of the month so we took her to the doctor where she was diagnosed with a sinus infection. On her sixth day of taking an antibiotic, we noticed unusual bruising and purple petechiae on her belly. This alarmed us so we called the pediatrician that evening and were told to discontinue the antibiotic and bring Avery in first thing in the morning. On...
Avery was born July 10, 2009. As soon as she was born we discovered that she had a few problems. They flew her to Children’s in Birmingham AL. They discovered she had more problems than they expected her to have. They diagnosed Avery with TEF; it stands for Esophageal Atresia/Tracheo-Esophageal Fistula. TEF is a rare congenital birth defect which affects approximately 1 in 4,000 babies. With EA/TEF, a baby is unable to swallow, and may also have trouble breathing. They also found Atrial and...
Sometimes, a doctor is just a doctor. But oftentimes, they are so much more. For Ayannah Turner and her family, the doctors and staff at Children’s of Alabama are much more like family. “So many people at Children’s helped shape our life,” said Sheila Barnes, Ayannah’s mother. “Everyone there, from the cafeteria workers to the lab techs and those in environmental services, has become a part of us.” That bond started when Ayannah was about 10 months old. Sheila felt a lump in Ayannah’s side...
For 15-year-old Bailey Peavey, January 1, 2012 marked not only the start of a new year, but also the beginning of life with a new kidney. “We received a call at 5:30 in the morning on New Year’s Eve telling us to pack our bags,” said Bailey’s mom, Pam Peavey. The family rushed to make the nearly five-hour drive from their home in Mississippi to Birmingham and to the Pediatric Transplant Program. In conjunction with the Division of Transplantation Surgery at UAB, the Division of Pediatric...
Baily has been at Children's Hospital child since he was about three weeks old. He continued with vomiting and respiratory infections. We had our second surgery at Children's when he was about six weeks old, and our third by one year old. By age four he continued to stay sick despite efforts to keep him well. His team of physicians began to search for the source of his illness. His pulmonologist since infancy diagnosed him with Common Variable Immunodeficiency. A disorder that makes it very...
Last September, when Baxter Moseley was asked to prepare an essay for a high school English class, he knew immediately how he would begin: “It’s funny how you can go to sleep as one person, but wake up feeling like someone brand new, fresh out of the box,” he wrote. “This is what happened to me …” Baxter had decided to write about his life-changing experience at Children’s of Alabama during June of 2011. It was then that surgeon Mike Chen placed a metal bar between Baxter’s heart and chest...
In January 2006 my five year old daughter Baylee was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. During the Christmas holiday I had noticed that she seemed to want to eat all the time. She has always been tall for her age so I assumed that she was having another growing spurt. Next were the trips to the bathroom every 15 to 20 minutes. When she would go it would be like she hadn't been in forever. One night she wet the bed from her head to her feet. The bed was soaked. I knew that something was wrong...
Bayleigh Phillips is a newly minted 2020 graduate of Jacksonville State University with a deep interest in helping others. Her bachelor’s degree in family consumer sciences with a focus in child development is the foundation for her dream of working one day as a child life specialist at Children’s of Alabama. “I started out as a psychology major, but then I started thinking about child life specialists and how they influenced my time at Children’s,” Bayleigh said. “I’m a people person. I want...
Energetic, full of joy and a million-dollar smile is the best way to describe 5-year-old Beaux Waites. Beaux is also a fighter, having been diagnosed with Down Syndrome and a heart condition called atrioventricular (AV) canal defect. At 4 months old, Beaux had open heart surgery after spending more than a month at Children’s of Alabama for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). His parents, Lauren and Shellie, made the decision for him to have the surgery. “Thank goodness we did, because when they...
When my mom found out she was going to have a fourth boy from an ultra-sound she was a little less than enthusiastic at first. A conference with her doctor quickly changed her mind and heart, when she was told that the little baby she was carrying would probably be born with spina bifida. They named me Benjamin Lee Brewbaker and I was born July 24, 1998 at UAB Hospital. Quickly, after I was born I was taken to Children's in order to have surgery on my back closing the large hole exposing my...
Ben Golden is an energetic first grader who loves baseball, Fortnite and the dance moves synonymous with the popular video game. Orange Justice is Ben’s favorite Fortnite dance, FYI, and he showed off his moves with zeal during a recent visit to Children’s of Alabama. One would have thought Ben was a celebrity as nurses stopped in their tracks to greet him with high fives and hugs. They all remember the first time they laid eyes on him as an infant awaiting a new heart in 2012. Four weeks...
The symptoms weren’t worrisome at first, said Christi Johnson of her then 7-year-old son, Ben, who one day began experiencing unexplained low-grade fevers. “He never had any other problem, just a couple of months of constant little fevers,” Christi said. “Then he would easily tire and ended up being anemic.” Christi took Ben to his pediatrician in Auburn and labs were drawn to find answers. Initial blood work didn’t pinpoint the problem, but it did reveal enough for Christi and husband,...
Bennie was diagnosed about two weeks after his 11th birthday and the prognosis was not good. Scans showed that he had a cancerous tumor on his left kidney, in his lung, on his liver and on his bones. Chemotherapy was started at the beginning of November 2007. I thought I would not have much time to spend with my precious son. Then, I gave it all over to the Man Above and just believed that He would oversee the healing process. After the first round of chemo his scans showed 90% shrinkage in all...
A common broken bone injury doesn’t always result in a common healing process. At least it didn’t for Benton Thompson, who broke his tibia and fibula while playing basketball in his home’s driveway with his sister. He wore the typical cast for four weeks, but after his doctor removed the cast, his parents noticed that his leg wasn’t straight. “It bowed out from the knee down,” said Benton’s mother, Kristen. “His doctor told us it should straighten up on its own, so we just watched and...
Betsy Keyton was never a patient at Children’s Hospital, but it was Children’s that inspired her to begin a nursing career that she loves. In 1989, Betsy’s niece Rachel was born with an association of birth defects called Vater’s Syndrome, which affected her heart, kidneys and esophagus. Rachel was hospitalized at Children’s for more than three months. Betsy was by her niece’s side for much of that time. Betsy says, “I fell in love with Children’s Hospital and I fell in love with how they...
It was, literally, a first of its kind graduation for the state of Alabama. On Friday, November 7, 2014, 4-year-old Liberty Bird “Birdie” Bower of Coaling (near Tuscaloosa) became the first child to complete the Intensive Feeding Program (IFP) at Children’s of Alabama. IFP helps infants, toddlers and adolescents overcome problems feeding and drinking often associated with developmental delays or serious illness. It is the first and only program of its kind in Alabama and one of only a...
Sickened with rheumatic fever at age 13, Bobby Bowden, the beloved, long-time coach of the Florida State Seminoles, spent a year in bed recovering. True to the custom of the era, young Bobby was treated at home during house calls made by Children’s Hospital’s Dr. Mehaffy. Coach Bowden says his parents took comfort in knowing Children’s Hospital was there for their son if he ever needed hospitalization. After he recovered from his illness and began his fabled football career, Coach Bowden...
Like thousands of families from every county in Alabama, the Plott family of Tuscaloosa depends on the Children’s Hospital of Alabama for the specialized pediatric care their son, Boots, can receive nowhere else in our state. A persistent ear infection resulted in Boots being seen at Children’s by Dr. Audie Woolley, a renowned otolaryngologist. The news was not good. Boots was one of only a handful of children in the world to have congenital cholesteatomas in both ears. Cholesteatomas are...
Ask Braden Berry who is his favorite superhero and you’ll get more than one answer. It’s Spiderman. And Batman. And the Hulk. He’s undecided on his Halloween costume, but let there be no doubt his final choice will be mighty and powerful. “He wants to be the Hulk this year, but I’m waiting a couple of weeks to buy a costume because next week he’ll want to be Spiderman,” said Braden’s mother, Andrea. “He loves superheroes; his favorite changes daily.” Though Braden might not realize it,...
This is my 3-year-old son Bradley. He's been seen at Children's since he was just a few months old. Today we had a checkup with his plastic surgeon Dr. Grant (who we always look forward to seeing) and when we got to his clinic Bradley was surprised with a new bike for Christmas! I seriously just about cried because every time we go there we are treated with the best care. Then to have them give Brad such a nice gift for Christmas just means so much! I honestly couldn't imagine taking Bradley...
Meggy Sabatini’s pregnancy was textbook typical until her 37th week when she developed hypertension. That’s when her doctors at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) decided to induce labor and ultimately delivered little Bradley by Caesarean section on April 23, 2013. The 7 lb., 8 oz. baby’s breathing wasn’t completely normal at birth, but Meggy said no red flags were raised. Still, Bradley was taken to the Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (RNICU) for observation. Unfortunately,...
My twin girls are 10 months old and both were born with cleft lip/palate. We have been traveling back and forth to Birmingham since they were two months old. They will have numerous surgeries throughout life. They had their first surgery in February 2008 (which was two procedures by two different doctors). It was their lip surgery and ear tubes. We stayed overnight at Children’s. They then had another surgery in June 2008 for another set of tubes. Their doctor is awesome and has done a...
Brandon Hicks pounded up and down the basketball court, playing one of his best games ever that hot day, even though the match on June 10, 2008, between his visiting Ragland High School team and Moody High was only a practice game. But then the 15-year-old began feeling strange, so he took a break. When the half-time buzzer rang, the boy tried to rise but his 6’5”, 250-pound body refused. “At first the coaches thought he was suffering from heat exhaustion,” recalls Paige Hicks, Brandon’s mom....
My son Brandon made his early arrival on February 26, 2006 at 29 weeks and four days at UAB. I noticed right away that his stomach was really swollen to the point where it looked like plastic. He was taken to the NICU immediately after his birth at UAB because he was struggling to breathe. My motherly instinct heightened because I knew there was more going on with him. There were X-rays ordered for his stomach because it kept expanding tighter and tighter along with spinal taps and other tests....
Brantley will be 2 years old in December. Through testing, he was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis before he was born. He has had a pretty rough go. In his short life he has been in the hospital about 25 times. CF can affect the lungs or digestive tract or both. Brantley’s issues have been more digestive. He was diagnosed with failure to thrive and had to have a G-Tube because of malnutrition. At 22 months he only weighs 24 pounds.
An August 2009 house fire left 5-year-old Brantson Smith with third-degree burns over approximately 15 percent of his body. “He was burned on his face, neck, hands and his left shoulder,” said his mother, Misty Smith. Brantson was rushed to the hospital in nearby Talladega where doctors immediately determined he needed to be taken to Children’s of Alabama for treatment. “As soon as he came through the door, they were on the phone calling Children’s to come and get him,” Smith said. Brantson...
For the Butler family, life changed in a moment. Eight-year-old Brayden was training in hopes of reaching the amateur national motocross championship. He needed just one more race to clinch a second place finish in the Alabama State Championship Series. “We were at the track for a practice day,” explains his mother, Christie. “It wasn’t a big deal. He was working on a jump he had done before.” Brayden’s father, Sean, was on the track watching, and Christie had left the event for just a little...
Breanna was born on July 28, 1993. She immediately quit breathing and had to be put on a respirator. After about an hour, we were told that she would have to go to Children's Hospital. After a few slight problems with the jet because of weather, she finally flew to Birmingham. This is when we found out she had persistent fetal circulation. Because of her breathing problems, we could not hold her until she was twelve days old. We stayed in ICU for three and a half weeks, and then in a room for...
"Side Ache" By Lori Ham Nobody ever wants to hear that the test done on their child revealed a problem. But that is exactly the news we received in January of 2004. In December of 2003 our youngest son began complaining that he had "side ache". At the appointment with Dr. Adams he had a urine culture taken. The test revealed Brett had a urinary tract infection, very uncommon for boys. So much so that after the first UTI the American Academy of Medicine recommends further testing. Brett was...
When Briana Kinsey competes in the Miss Alabama pageant this June, she will come with a message – to encourage children to stay active and make sure they are eating healthy food in order to prevent diabetes. “Diabetes is a big issue in Alabama,” says the former Miss Birmingham and current Miss Hoover. “We’re the state with the highest rate of diabetes in the nation.” Briana became an advocate for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes when her mother was diagnosed with diabetes two years ago. She...
Briley Teague was 7 years old when her pediatrician pulled her mother, Angie, aside and said, “Your life is about to change.” Angie had been concerned when her daughter began complaining about being thirsty all the time. “She’d guzzle down a lot of water and then five minutes later she wanted more,” she recalls. “Then at one point I noticed she looked like she had lost weight.” The pediatrician ran tests and diagnosed Briley with type 1 diabetes. She was sent immediately to Children’s of...
Brock Senel has big dreams, as any 9-year-old kid should. He talks passionately of geography and politics, and his aspirations to one day become a geopoliticist. He’s taken up Taekwondo, enjoyed his first-ever funnel cake at the county fair and looks forward to returning to school in his adopted hometown of Istanbul, Turkey. Brock’s mother, Melinda Senel, looked on as her son continued to engage in conversation with confidence – a confidence Melinda is ecstatic and relieved to see again....
Brody got sick Sept 1 2010 right before he was 6 months old.We knew something was wrong...he would vomit up anytime he ate or drank and increasingly became more legarthic.Every few minutes he was screaming in pain.We took him to our local hospital where he was admitted for a stomach bug.That was a Wednesday night.Thursday night He had a diaper full of blood but was told this was not cause for alarm.After another day of nothing being done..no test and no meds and NO answers we transferred him to...
Brody Simpson came into the world May 8, 2015. He was a little early, but his mom and dad, Lacey and Jason, were ready for his arrival. What they weren’t ready for is what the doctors told them after he was born. Brody was perfect in the eyes of his parents but his health was not. The biggest problem was a heart defect that needed immediate attention. That included surgery. Without it, Brody wouldn’t live long. Two days later, Brody was flown from his birthing hospital in Huntsville to...
On Christmas Eve 2007, a then-12-year-old Brooke Routon was an inpatient at Children’s of Alabama, where she was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma – a rare type of cancer that begins in the white blood cells. Brooke’s symptoms began with fatigue and swollen lymph nodes in her neck. Her family doctor at first suspected mononucleosis, or mono, but all tests returned negative results. Brooke was referred to a surgeon for a neck biopsy. The surgeon, in turn, immediately referred her to Children’s of...
Amy and Robert Royse had known about Brooklyn’s heart problems since their daughter was just two years old, so every year they took her in for a routine visit with her cardiologist in their hometown of Mobile. As a toddler, Brooklyn had been hospitalized with pneumonia. A heart murmur was detected, and further testing showed what appeared to be a membrane growing in her left ventricle. The diagnosis was subaortic stenosis complicated by a leaking aortic valve. If left untreated, subaortic...
The first birthday celebration for any child is special, but it’s especially meaningful for Chad and Lyndsey Fowler’s young son, Brooks. Because of a serious heart condition, there was a time when they weren’t sure that it would ever happen. At 20 weeks in utero, an ultrasound revealed something was wrong with Brooks’ heart. Lyndsey’s doctor in Montgomery sent her and Brooks to Children’s of Alabama for more testing, which revealed Brooks had Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF), a rare condition caused...
Bryce was diagnosed with a subglottic hemangioma at 9 weeks old after his breathing became very labored. Dr. Woolley performed 11 CO2 laser surgeries, one LTR surgery (to remove the hemangioma in Bryce’s airway and make his airway larger using cartilage from his ear) and one plastic surgery to remove the hemangioma from Bryce's lip. We lived in Montgomery at the time and never once minded or complained about the drive to Birmingham. Dr. Woolley and his staff and the rest of the hospital staff...
Children’s Hospital Remembered: The Lone Ranger, Bottled Milk and Air Conditioning In June 1955, many Birmingham children were watching the debut of TV’s “The $64,000 Question,” hoping to see Disney’s new movie “Lady and The Tramp” and asking their parents if they could someday visit the newly-opened Disneyland. But 11-year-old Bryce Romine from Limestone County was preoccupied with other matters. He had battled polio since age 2, enduring heat therapy and other efforts to heal his young...
After a normal pregnancy, I entered Crestwood Hospital to give birth to my second child. Caden was obviously struggling to breathe, and was carried away for tests. He was then rushed to NICU at Huntsville Hospital. After further testing, we learned that Caden had a birth defect called a congenital diaphragmatic hernia. Until that day, I had never heard of CDH and had no idea of how it would affect my precious new baby and our whole family. Caden was then rushed to Children’s Hospital in...
My name is Caitlin Marie and I am 18 years old. When I was only 30 minutes to an hour old, I was taken to Children’s of Alabama. I was born with a cloacal anomaly, an imperforate anus and a heart murmur. I had a colostomy bag from birth until I was 3 years old. I lost a good part of my right kidney because of a cyst. I have had my left ovary removed and numerous cysts removed from my female reproductive organs. My surgeons from the time I was born were Dr. Hardin and Dr. Joseph and their...
My beautiful son, Joseph Caleb Brady was born on a beautiful day in September in the year 1999. The 2nd day of the month, in fact. It is a day I will never forget. His father was actually in Bradford for drug rehab and I was there for the family weekend when to my surprise, my water broke, at 38 weeks. I was terrified. Being from Montgomery, I was 80 plus miles from home and on top of that, my water, when it broke was discolored. Come to find out, my little man had a bowel movement inside of...
Ernestine Wagner of Marion, Ala. knew something was wrong with her then 2-year-old son Caleb Brooks. He wasn’t eating and was beginning to lose weight. She took him to the nearest pediatric clinic 30 miles away in Selma, but doctors assured her that Caleb was healthy and his disinterest in food would soon pass. “Then one day he was just irritable,” Ernestine recalls. “He didn’t want to do anything but drink, drink, drink!” He also was urinating more than usual, so much so that he developed a...
Caleb started seeing Dr. Brasfield in 1998. He was 2 years old. He was diagnosed with Active Airway Disease. We were told that he would not live past seven years old. He had to see Dr. Saeed in GI. Caleb was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease and Irritable Bowel Sydrome. We were told last month when we took Caleb to Birmingham that there was nothing more that could be done. Caleb has outlived the original time. He is 10 years old. Caleb is a happy-go-lucky little boy. He has always fought and he...
Fifteen-year-old Calvin Phillips was diagnosed with asthma almost five years ago. “He was having trouble breathing and he couldn’t stay awake at home,” said his mother, Renee Jackson. When his pediatrician couldn’t find anything wrong, Jackson became frustrated. Within a few weeks, Calvin had a serious asthma attack. “He had to go to Children’s by ambulance and he was hospitalized and in intensive care for more than a week,” she said. Following his stay in the hospital and his asthma...
Camdyn My Angel By Lacie Seay Camdyn was diagnosed at 20 weeks in-utero with CDH. He was born at 36 1/2 weeks on October 9th, 2008. He was immediately flown to Children's hospital in Birmingham where he was placed on a heart lung machine called ECMO. During his month at Children's he had many obstacles to overcome & had to go through a series of routine tests each day. It was an uphill battle, but our faith was strong. He was such a little fighter. You could never imagine what life is like in...
Despite the hardships that come with living with sickle cell disease, Cameron Thedford carries himself with quiet bravery and determination. The 2017 graduate of John Carroll High School in Birmingham has enrolled at University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) to study physical therapy, a field that piqued his interest after completing community service hours at a local nursing home. He plays basketball and Xbox video games, and he hangs out with friends. And once a month since age 8, Cameron...
At just a year old Cami was diagnosed with cancer. Cami’s Mom, Camille Phillips, remembers taking Cami to her well baby check-up. Their pediatrician discovered the tumor in her abdomen. Camille is so thankful that she took her child to the well baby check-up because otherwise it would have been a year later before they discovered the tumor. Cami’s tumor was diagnosed as a stage 3 tumor, meaning it covered her entire abdomen but it had not yet invaded any of her organs. Their pediatrician...
Heart surgery is serious at any age. Now imagine yourself as the mother of a 10-day-old baby girl facing this challenge. Carleigh Ann Pitts was born in Montgomery in July 2015. For that first week, Carleigh Ann’s mother Emma Pitts watched over her newborn daughter confined to an incubator, struggling to breathe. She waited for answers, wanting to learn why her baby was so sick. When her condition worsened, Carleigh Ann was life-flighted from Montgomery to Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham. ...
Carol Colburn of Fairhope was born in 1939 in Odenville, the daughter of a coal miner who later came to work in Birmingham at ACIPCO. She was hospitalized in the early '40s at the original Children's Hospital facility in Lakeview on Birmingham's Southside. She doesn't remember her final diagnosis, but remembers her mother telling her the doctors thought she had Bright's Disease or Nephritis. As a child she had to have blood tranfusions and her mother had to donate the blood. "In those days...
Carol Grace, the daughter of Hope and Chad Bailey of Tuscaloosa, was diagnosed with spina bifida while in utero. Hope’s obstetrician arranged for her to have her baby at University Hospital in Birmingham. When Carol Grace was born, she was immediately transferred to Children’s Hospital, where she underwent surgery to put in a shunt to keep the spinal fluid flowing correctly. Surgeons also closed an opening in her back that left her spine exposed; that opening was the size of a small Styrofoam...
My name is Carolyn Franks, I am 61 years old. My mom and dad’s name was Jack and Ruby Nichols. My right hand is enlarged to twice the size of my left. I was born with it. My parents took me to Children’s Hospital when I was a toddler. I think I may have started going in 1950 or 1951. [I went until I was 18 years old. As you can tell, it’s my right hand because I don’t write to good]. When I was eight or nine the doctors did a biopsy. It’s not cancer they called it Limfamgoma.
Most little boys want to be just like their fathers, and 7-year-old Carson Gossett and his dad, Brandon, share a special bond. Both were diagnosed with asthma at an early age. “My husband has a history of asthma and was treated at Children’s his whole life,” said Carson’s mother, Kimberly Gossett. Despite the family history and some respiratory complications associated with Carson’s birth, asthma was not what the Gossetts suspected when they began searching for the cause of their son’s...
When a routine ultrasound early in Kawana Randall’s pregnancy in 2011 revealed twins, she and her husband, Lorenzo, of Calera were delighted. No sign of trouble for Kawana or her babies was evident but because of her small stature, her pregnancy was cautiously considered to be high risk and doctors placed her on bed rest. Despite those precautions, the two little boys – Carson and Carter – were born at just 26 weeks. Still, they appeared healthy. “We had no idea what was coming down the road,”...
When a routine ultrasound early in Kawana Randall’s pregnancy in 2011 revealed twins, she and her husband, Lorenzo, of Calera were delighted. No sign of trouble for Kawana or her babies was evident but because of her small stature, her pregnancy was cautiously considered to be high risk and doctors placed her on bed rest. Despite those precautions, the two little boys – Carson and Carter – were born at just 26 weeks. Still, they appeared healthy. “We had no idea what was coming down the road,”...
The road has been long for Carter Lipscomb and his parents, Allen and Jessica, but they’re thankful it led them to Children’s of Alabama. Carter was born at 24 weeks with weak lungs. He was placed on a ventilator and diagnosed with bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), a chronic lung disease that commonly affects preemies. After several close calls of nearly losing Carter, the Lipscombs decided to move him to Children’s. “We knew Carter wasn’t leaving the NICU any time soon, so we knew that moving...
"History Does Repeat Itself" By Bev J Children's Hospital is the most wonderful place! My daughter Crystal, now 23, was diagnosed with Hirschprung's Disease when she was 3 months old, Dr. Cain was her surgeon, I had no idea what that was and that major surgeries could be performed on small babies like that. 23 years later, Crystal has a daughter and son, her son Cash also has been diagnosed with Hirschprungs, his first surgery was done in September. He'll go back in March 2009 to see when a...
Cashi was 12 years old when his mother along with him and his two brothers were involved in a near fatal car accident. His brothers, Raymond and Johnathan were airlifted to Children’s Hospital of Alabama. Cashi was not airlifted because he was older. Hoowever, he was later transported to Children’s. Cashi had an operation on his spine to repair the damage. He was diagnosed with complete paralysis. He has been in PT for 3 1/2 years now. Today he can walk with a cane. He is slow but it is a...
I was born in Anniston, AL on Sept. 30, 1969. Immediately, everyone knew something was wrong and I was not expected to live to see October. My parents, aunt and pastor rushed me to Children's Hospital, where it was determined that I had been born with a severe birth defect. This left me with quite a number of problems that needed to be dealt with immediately if I was to survive. Those problems included severe digestive maladies, which required immediate surgery and several subsequent operations...
Cayden Nicholas Pena was born on Sunday, November 8, 2009 at 11:15 pm. He was born 5 weeks and 5 days early due to my complications with pregnancy. After he was born, he developed jaundice. The doctors also noticed that his red blood cell count was not up like it should have been. At first they gave him the diagnosis of Hereditary Spherocytosis, however his hematologist in Birmingham wasn't sure until he got to see Cayden's actual blood cell. Hereditary Spherocytosis is where the red blood...
When Jason and Tabitha White were pregnant with son Cayden, they knew there was a chance he could have hemophilia – a bleeding disorder in which the blood clots slower than normal or not at all. Tabitha is a genetic carrier of the disorder and Tabitha’s father had Severe Hemophilia A. The Whites soon learned Cayden and his grandfather share the same diagnosis. “He got to go home a couple of days after birth like normal, but due to his diagnosis, our pediatrician referred us to our hematologist...
On September 14, 2010, Chandler Fullman went to school as a healthy, typical 14-year-old looking forward to trying out for the high school golf team. During a routine weight training session in his physical education class Chandler suddenly fell ill and lost consciousness. He was immediately rushed to Children’s of Alabama where he was diagnosed with a brain bleed. It turned out that Chandler had a tangle of malformed blood vessels in his brain called an arteriovenous malformation. The...
My name is Charles Campbell I am 34 years old. I was diagnosed with Rye Syndrome in 1985 at Riverview Regional Hospital. I stayed in the Emergency room for nine hours. I was 12 years old. In 1985 I was transferred to Children’s Hospital. My mother told me it was very cold that day. The wind was blowing hard; the ambulance could hardly stay on the road. She also said that was the longest ride she had ever been on, from Gadsden, AL to Birmingham, AL. I got to Children’s Hospital and they...
Charles Terry’s first experience with Children’s Hospital was in the 1930’s when he was about 10 years old. One morning when he would’ve normally gone to school, he woke up and realized nobody had woken him up to get ready for school. He got up to see what was going on and was told he was going to Children’s Hospital to get his tonsils taken out. Charles’ only memory of his stay at Children’s is the dream he had in surgery. He remembers being put to sleep and having a very vivid dream about...
Charlie Mae Wilson is a 4-year-old girl who lights up a room when she smiles and giggles. Though she cannot speak, she instinctively hugs when she is held by loved ones. At 3 months old, Charlie was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called SMC1A epilepsy. Less than 100 people in the world have been diagnosed with the disorder. There are various types of epilepsy – a neurological disorder characterized by seizures, sensations and sometimes loss of awareness. In Charlie’s case, SMC1A...
Vestavia Hills High School senior Charlotte Baker has already settled on a college major. Admitted to the fall 2018 freshman class at Auburn University, she will study human development and family studies with a concentration in child life – a decision inspired by her own medical journey at Children’s of Alabama. In December 2016, Charlotte was diagnosed with anaplastic astrocytoma, a rare malignant brain tumor. “It was heartbreaking,” she said, recalling the moment of her diagnosis. “I was...
From very early on, Megg and Ryan Jacks knew that their daughter, Charlotte “Charlie Belle,” would have kidney issues. She was just 12 weeks in utero when doctors discovered via an ultrasound that her bladder wasn’t emptying as it should. After visiting a maternal-fetal medicine specialist, the Jacks prepared themselves for bad news. “We just didn’t know what would be wrong,” Megg said. Because Charlie Belle didn’t have enough amniotic fluid in the womb, her lungs were underdeveloped. After...
Both of our children have been in Children's. Both have had reflux and seen Dr. Mestre. Both have had EGD's, both have had PH probe studies. Chase had to have a liver biopsy, McKenzie had to see the urologist and have numerous urology test done for re-correct UTI's. Children's means hope. We feel that when we come there with our children that they are getting the best care in the state.
Ever since my little girl was born she has had a problem with ears and sinuses. We were told at age 3 that we had carnial stenosis and that we had to go and see a Neurologist at Children’s. When we arrived we were scared and unsure of what the outcome would be after seeing the doctor and talking with him he put our minds at ease, that she would be fine and that no surgery was needed. Two years later we were once again told that we had to go to Children’s and that our little girl’s sinuses were...
Chloe Light, a certified child life specialist at Children’s of Alabama, is well-versed in hospital life as both an employee and a patient. At just 4 days old, Chloe was admitted to Children’s after being diagnosed with congenital heart disease (CHD). Congenital heart disease is a problem with the structure of the heart and one of the most common birth defects. Chloe would have three open-heart surgeries by the time she was 1 ½. “Even though I was too young to remember my surgeries, I have...
Chris' Story By Angela McRae I've been working at Children's Hospital in the IT Department since 2005. I teach the patient care computer classes such as Invision. In October of 2007, my son Chris McRae somehow managed to fall at school while playing dodge ball and jam his tooth into his knee joint. He developed an iconela and staph infection in his knee joint. This led to an 8 day stay at the hospital and a PICC line for 4 weeks at home. My visit to the emergency room and in the hospital was...
One day, Christian Ward complained of back pain. Then his eyes suddenly became sensitive to light. “He couldn’t walk 10 feet without complaining about his back,” said Christian’s mother, La Tongna Ward Mitchell. “I took him to the pediatrician and the on-call doctor shrugged it off as growing pains. She checked his eyes, but didn’t think anything was wrong.” Christian felt nauseated and his eye sensitivity worsened. He and La Tongna returned to the pediatrician, and though Christian’s...
As parents of two normal, healthy teenagers, we never expected to ever see the inside of Children's Hospital. However, our son, Christopher, was diagnosed with scoliosis at age 14. When he was 17, it was decided he needed a spinal fusion and the insertion of two metal rods to correct the curvature of his spine. All this would be done at Children's Hospital. Needless to say, we were all a bit nervous. But the morning of his procedure, the staff and everyone that was to be a part in the operating...
Christopher was born September 12, 1992 at a local hospital in Montgomery, Alabama. Three months later, thanks to a local physician named Bob Beshear, he was rushed to Children's Hospital in Birmingham with malnutrition and an enlarged liver. Unknown to us, Christopher was suffering from a chronic lung disease known as Cystic Fibrosis which is due to a glue-like substance in the lungs that causes lung problems, gastro problems, and major sinus problems. Dr. Lyrene and Sandy Mann were the first...
Sanqunette Ruffin remembers the day the doctor called and told her that her week old baby Christopher tested positive for sickle cell anemia. “I remembered what I had heard of sickle cell when I was a kid, and I thought, ‘My baby’s going to die,’” Sanqunette recalls. “But then we went to the doctor, and then my husband bought a book on it, and reality began to set in.” Sanqunette learned that with proper medical care, Christopher’s symptoms could be managed and controlled, and that the number...
Who could know that exposure to walking pneumonia could cause Stevens-Johnson Syndrome? We had never heard of SJS until Christopher was diagnosed in May 2007. It started out with a small rash on his neck and swollen lips. After getting to the emergency room in Tuscaloosa, the rash was spreading to the rest of his body, and blisters were forming on his neck and ears. When his condition did not improve, he was transferred to Children's. That was when he was diagnosed with SJS. He was in the PICU...
I was 23 weeks gestation and weighed 1 pound. I stayed at UAB for three weeks then was moved to Children's and remained there for five months. I was diagnosed with NEC, BPD, Grade III brain bleed and a host of other problems. I was on oxygen for several months and had a feeding tube from 3 years old until I was 12. I was also involved with Physical and Occupational Therapy. I am now 27 years old, a high school graduate and daycare volunteer.
Right after Katrina, the kids were out of school until Oct. 6, I think. Claire had off and on stomachaces/ mild nausea and fatigue for about two weeks with several episodes of diarrhea (which most of us had), and only one time of vomiting. I noticed that her stomach was distended, and we went to our pediatrician, who sent her for an ultrasound, where they say several masses and fluid in the chest. We went to Women and Children's in Mobile, but then were transferred to hospital of our choice...
Clark was born on April 10, 2010, in Birmingham, Alabama. Everything seemed normal until a few hours later he couldn’t keep his formula down. He was taken to Children’s NICU the next day, and we were told he had an intestinal blockage. We were devastated. We met with Dr. Chen, and he told us Clark would have to have an operation. The surgery went fine, but Dr. Chen said that his blockage was caused by unusually thick meconium called meconium ileus. As a result, he also had a twist in his bowel...
Colton Hutchison of Jasper appeared to be a perfectly healthy little boy when he was born in February 2010. But weeks later, he frightened his parents when he stopped breathing while his mom, Kristy, was feeding him. After a few pats on the back, he revived and doctors attributed the spell to an upper respiratory infection. But five days later, it happened again and Kristy had to perform CPR on her baby. A second trip to the Children’s of Alabama emergency department sent Colton straight to the...
Seven-year-old Colton Woolbright used to grow frustrated when his classmates didn’t understand why he takes daily medications or wears a mask to protect his compromised immune system. Colton was born with cystic fibrosis, but he has refused to let the disease best him. “Last year, he had an amazing teacher who had all of the first-graders paint masks and wear them for a day to help them understand what Colton has to do,” said Colton’s mother, Missy. CF is a genetic disorder that causes a...
Coltyn's Mom remembers. While I was in my last month of pregnancy with my son the ultra sound tech noticed his bladder was enlarged. As you could imagine that I was scared because this was my first baby. Coltyn's pediatrician recommended we see Dr. Joseph at Children's, so off we went when he was 1 month old. While there they catherdrized my son, which was awful, and diagnosed him with a stage 5 Vesiocouteral Reflux (reflux between the kidney and the bladder). The doctor tells me my child will...
Seven-year-old Connor Deal lives with a stretched and unfunctional sigmoid colon that causes him severe constipation and a variety of stomach issues. He was treated by doctors in his native Florida with very little improvement before his parents, Angela and Mike, made the decision to take him to Children’s of Alabama to see a gastroenterologist. The Deals approved a recommended surgery called laparoscopic appendicostomy with chait placement, a procedure in which a catheter or tube is inserted...
Connie's Experience 70 Years Ago By Connie McClelland In 1939 I had what I thought was the scariest experience of my life (at all of age 5). I had never been away from my parents and suddenly right after my baby sister was born I was taken to this BIG building and taken to this big room with lots of windows and put to bed in a baby bed (which I thought I was entirely too old for). My Mom and Dad had explained that I was going to sleep there and in the morning while I was asleep the doctor was...
Johnathon and Lauren Hodges of Florence, Alabama weren’t aware of child life or child life specialists until their 4-year-old son Cooper was admitted to Children’s of Alabama’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). They didn’t anticipate the familiar faces that would comfort their family through their hospital stay and beyond. “We didn’t know about it at all before, but it made all the difference in the world as far as Cooper’s attitude and emotional and mental state,” Lauren said. “Being in...
On Saturday, Sept. 29, 2007 my three year old son Cooper complained of a headache. We took him to the doctor on Sunday and they said it was just a fever virus. We went home and Cooper continued having the headache and a fever. His fever would go to 103.8 at night, but would remain low grade during the day. We went back to the doctor three more times that week, resulting in the same diagnosis. Finally, when we went on Thursday, our doctor could see that something more was wrong. Cooper could not...
We are honored to share our story with you. We have a blended family with five children. In October 2004, we found out that we were expecting. We had not gotten over the shock before problems started developing. By week 16 of the pregnancy Meg's blood pressure was out of control and by week 22 of the pregnancy Meg was admitted to the hospital on strict bed rest. We had several meetings with neonatologist and they told us that the baby’s chance of survival was very poor. Daily ultrasounds were...
Courtney Alvis of Bessemer remembers the first few months after her 16th birthday – driving to the mall, going to movies and enjoying her newfound independence. But that all changed on November 1, 2010, after what Courtney thought would be a routine visit to the pediatrician. The pediatrician found that Courtney’s right lung had collapsed and he also feared she might have a much more serious condition – leukemia or perhaps lymphoma. She was sent to Children’s of Alabama. After a bone marrow...
Courtney is a brave young lady. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor when she was three years old. We were sent to Children’s at that time and are still using them today. Courtney had been doing really well until 2005 when we found out her tumor had tripled in size and needed to be removed. Where Courtney’s tumor is located they are not able to remove it all. They can only get what grows outside the brain stem. We had to return in August of that year to have another surgery and again in 2008....
Coy Face is a first grader from Trinity, Alabama, a small community near Decatur. Coy was just three years old when his mom, April, discovered the lump in his side. It was a Saturday morning, October 15, 2005. The pediatrician told April to bring Coy in on Monday. They were immediately sent to a local hospital, where a surgeon told them he was “pretty sure” that Coy had Wilm’s tumor, a rare kidney cancer that primarily affects children. On Tuesday morning, Coy traveled to Children’s Hospital...
"History Does Repeat Itself" By Bev J Children's Hospital is the most wonderful place! My daughter Crystal, now 23, was diagnosed with Hirschprung's Disease when she was 3 months old, Dr. Cain was her surgeon, I had no idea what that was and that major surgeries could be performed on small babies like that. 23 years later, Crystal has a daughter and son, her son Cash also has been diagnosed with Hirschprungs, his first surgery was done in September. He'll go back in March 2009 to see when a...
Tara Strickland was halfway through her pregnancy with son Dade when a regularly scheduled ultrasound revealed an unexpected result. “I could tell by the tech’s face something was wrong,” she said. “They thought they found some fluid in his lungs.” Tara was immediately sent to a high-risk practice at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), where she and husband D.J. were told Dade’s official diagnosis – a congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH). Dade’s diaphragm had developed abnormally,...
In April of 2009, one day before his third birthday, Dailan started swelling in his face and legs. Thinking it was allergies, we took him to his regular pediatrician. Two days later the swelling had gotten much worse and had moved to his belly.We took him to Childrens Hospital where he was diagnosed with nephrotic syndrome. After a kidney biopsy in June, we were told he had IGM Nephropathy, a disease where the antibodies attack the kidneys. Dailan is only the third child that Children's has...
What does it take to make a family? Marty McGukin says hers was not complete until the adoption of Noah Asher on September 4, 2013 – and that the cheerful toddler whose middle name means “happy” would never have made his way into the McGukins’ hearts without Children’s of Alabama. Marty and her husband, Matt, were parents to one biological child, Micah, now 12, until 2011 when they adopted Daisy, now age 13. Daisy, who was born with abnormal kidneys, had been the McGukins’ foster child for...
Dalton was a healthy little 4-year-old we thought!! On December 13th 2005 we noticed that he had a swollen spot on the left side of his jaw. So I took him to the dentist as soon as I could get in which was the following Monday and he said that Dalton had two teeth that were abscessed and needed to come out. He went home on 10 days of antibiotics. Well it was time for them to end and Dalton's jaw kept getting bigger and bigger so I called back to the dentist office and they just wanted to call...
Dalton Andrew Hardigree was born in Huntsville. He spent 19 days in their NICU when they decided to ask Children's of Alabama to help us with his healthcare. Children's accepted him as a patient, and they flew him to Birmingham to the Quarterback Club Tower. Within 24 hours of landing, we learned so much about our son. I am writing this story because Children’s of Alabama is an amazing place and I feel that people need to know. They have so many wonderful people working countless days and...
Today, Dani Loeb is busy flying down the slopes as an aerial skier and traveling the world for competitions, but there was a day when she wasn’t quite sure what her athletic future would look like. While at a friend’s house, just across the lake from her own home in Lake Martin, Alabama, she jumped in the water and landed on a cottonmouth bed. “I had no idea it was there, but at first I really didn’t realize anything had happened,” Dani said. “I thought at first that I just hit my foot on the...
Hi. My name is Danielle Chestnut and I'm 16 years old. I was diagnosed with cancer when I was 11. The day they told me that I had cancer was November 4th of 2006. It was a huge shock to me, my friends, and my family. I stayed in the hospital for over 3 weeks. There are so many nice nurses and amazing doctors there. I want to thank all of the doctors and nurses that helped me through all of this. I do not know if I could have done it without you. Thank you for letting me sharing my story (:
What a difference a summer makes: Priceville teen inspires others after Memorial Day accident No one could have imagined how much Danielle Johnson’s life would change from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Danielle was celebrating Memorial Day weekend on Smith Lake when a personal watercraft accident severely damaged her left foot. By Labor Day weekend she used her prosthesis to ride a bike at Point Mallard Park. Her mom, Yvette Stackhouse, gives all the credit for her remarkable recovery to God,...
David's Story I was a patient of Children's Hospital as an infant. I was born in Fort Payne on July 20, 1948. I had one operation for interception and one for diverticulitis. I think I spent my first Christmas in the hospital. The second surgery was about eight months after the first. In my adult life several doctors have told me I was lucky to be alive because both of those problems are very hard to detect especially in an infant. I guess I owe my life to the doctors and nurses at The...
When 15-year-old David Meyers suffered a bad hit playing high school football, he and his parents, Maureen and David, expected some sort of physical ailment. However, the aftermath was more serious than they anticipated. “We figured there would be some bruising or even some sort of cut or tear to his kidneys because that’s the area where he was hit, but the MRI had a much bigger, unexpected surprise,” Maureen said. “They saw a tumor on his kidney.” While the hit David received caused no real...
Hannah Cornelius of Springville always knew her only child, Deason, was going to be okay – even when the 3-year-old’s failing liver placed him at #1 on the National Transplant Registry. Looking back, six months later, it all seems like a blur, she says. “He was a normal, healthy little boy when we realized that he looked jaundiced,” she recalls. “Actually, he was beginning to have all the signs of liver failure – his eyes were yellow, he had dark urine and light stools. We took him to...
Promples with My Stomach I first had surgery to remove my gallbladder and appendix. It all start before I had surgery. They kept saying there was nothing wrong with me, so I changed doctors. He put me in the hospital every weekend then finally did surgery on February 10, 2009. I had acute appendicitis and then they found out my gallbladder was enlarged so they took it out also. Then after two weeks I kept having problems. I have had three upper GI and one GI and now it has been five months...
Cal's Miraculous Story By Mom (Kris) Cal was 6 weeks early when he was born at Flowers Hospital in Dothan. The immediate outlook by the Pediatrician was grim. Cal's brain and brain stem were damaged during an early stage of pregnancy due to a stroke. Also, during the difficult labor there were additional hemorrhages throughout the brain. God's first angel we encountered was his pediatrician, Craig Adams. He had Cal flown to Children's Hospital, ASAP. Once we were all there, the second group of...
On any given day, you’ll find 17-year-old Cherokee High School student Denver Benjamin practicing with her cheer team or working on her technique in three other sports – basketball, softball and volleyball. And by watching her play, you’d never know Denver experienced a significant stroke. In January 2016, Denver came home from school early with extreme abdominal pain. Her mother, Elizabeth Goode, took her to their local emergency room, but despite Denver’s pain and high blood pressure, they...
Denver Buck had just turned 16 and had just gotten his driver’s license when every parent’s worst nightmare happened – he was involved in a serious traffic accident while en route to the movie theater to meet his girlfriend. “He came to a stop sign but didn’t make a complete stop,” said Denver’s mother, Jennifer Howard. “In trying to beat an 18-wheeler, he pulled out in front of a truck that hit him, sent him into the curb and flipped his car.” Denver sustained traumatic brain injuries from...
When Devin Cherry went from an active 9-year-old to a lethargic one with no appetite, his mother, Viette Smith, knew something was amiss. However, getting a diagnosis proved difficult. Smith took Devin to numerous doctors and emergency rooms, but no one could find a problem. Finally, Smith made an appointment with an allergist, who didn’t even perform an exam before sighting Devin’s problem. “He had a mass in his neck that had gotten so large she could see it when he opened his mouth,” Smith...
A heart attack. It’s the last thing a 17-year-old ever expects to experience. Especially an athlete. But on Feb. 9, 2014, the unthinkable happened to Diego Obregon Mendez. While playing soccer with friends, which he did on a regular basis, Diego suffered a massive heart attack. He was transported by ambulance to Children’s of Alabama. Once there, Dr. Jeffrey Alten, a pediatric critical care physician, had to perform CPR on him for an hour. After he was resuscitated, his parents were notified he...
When 19-year-old Dominic Hillman was just 7 years old, his parents, Eddie and Michelle, made the decision to move to Prattville from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, so their little boy could be closer to Children’s Hospital of Alabama in Birmingham. Dominic needed specialized care for treatment of cystic fibrosis (CF), an inherited disease that attacks the lungs and digestive system and may result in early death. He was born with a very large intestinal blockage and underwent surgery to remove the...
My Two Angels I have a 17 year old, Dominic and a 13 year old, Josh and they have been going to Children's in Birmingham for over 10 years. In the past year and a half my 13 year old has been hospitalized over 6 times, had a sinus surgery there as well as, a lung scope. My oldest child averages staying once to twice a year. When we moved to Alabama in 1998 our deciding factor was how great the CF program at the hospital was. My son Dominic who was 7 at the time, was in very bad condition and I...
When son Dorian was born, DeMario and LaShawnda Wiley didn’t expect to wind up at Children’s of Alabama. But when a routine test for sickle cell disease came back positive five days after Dorian’s birth, the Wileys arrived at the first of many appointments at Children’s Hematology/Oncology Specialty Care Clinic. Dorian’s clinic appointments, initially scheduled quarterly, were critical in monitoring his blood count levels. The appointments also helped the Wileys better understand sickle cell...
It may be hard for people who have seen Doug Jones’ legal commentary on national television to imagine this esteemed Birmingham lawyer as a panicked six-year-old at Children’s Hospital. After all, as a former U.S. attorney, Jones’ reputation for fearlessness was established decades ago, from his re-opening and successful prosecution of former Ku Klux Klansmen for the 1963 bombing of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church, to his indictment of domestic terrorist Eric Robert Rudolph. But this...
Dudley Luckie’s story is one of determination, both on Dudley’s part and his parents, Terri Shaw and Warner Luckie. When Dudley’s mother, Terri Shaw, was 20 weeks pregnant with Dudley, she had an appointment with her doctor to determine the sex of her unborn child. That’s when Dudley’s parents got the news that Dudley would be born with a different set of abilities than other newborns. Dudley was diagnosed with Spina Bifida. It is through Dudley’s association with Children’s Hospital and...
My mommy and daddy found out I had a heart condition when Mommy was pregnant with me. Mommy and Daddy were then told I would need open heart surgery when I was just a few days old. I was born on Halloween morning and ended up having one open heart surgery seven days later. I had my second open heart surgery when I was 3 months old. Now I'm about to turn 1 year old, and I’m the best little boy in the world. I'm always happy and you can never tell anything is wrong with me until you open up my...
Tim and Tara Cooper of Hattiesburg, Mississippi flew more than 7,000 miles across the world to China to adopt their son, Elijah Li. Also parents to two young biological children, the Coopers initially expressed interest in foster care, but after attending a Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit in Los Angeles, California, the couple had a change of heart. “I read Mary Beth Chapman’s book ‘Choosing to See,’ a book she talked about as a speaker at the Summit. I cannot tell you what God did in...
On August 4, 2009, Eli was seriously burned. We had been cooking with grease for over an hour at 450 degrees. Eli is a 5 year old little boy who is extremely active. As he passed through the kitchen he bumped into the pan. The grease fell down his little body melting the flesh. He had burns on his head, ear, neck, shoulder and down his arm. As the smell of burning flesh filled the air the most bone chilling scream traveled through the house! Eli was taken to a local hospital for treatment then...
Elijah was born in 2002 and was growing up quickly just like any other healthy little boy. But unknown to his parents, his skull sutures (growth joints between the bones) had prematurely fused during his early development. The abnormal growth this caused soon became noticeable, and at age four, Elijah was referred by his pediatrician to the Craniofacial Center at Children’s Hospital of Alabama. There he met Dr. Grant and Dr. Blount and was diagnosed with Sagittal Craniosynostosis. Since much...
Since birth, Elijah has suffered severe acid reflux. We tried for months to find out the source of the problem without any luck. After several months and several visits to his doctor, we finally were able to get in to see Dr. Prescott Adkinson in the Allergy Clinic at Children's. After Dr. Adkinson reviewed Elijah's symptoms, he realized that Elijah could have food allergies that cause the acid reflux. He immediately set us up an appointment with Dr. Janaina Nogueria at Children's. After a...
It didn’t seem right that Elijah Seritt was sick all the time. Yet, doctors kept telling Gary and his wife that their toddler was fine. He gained some strength from IV fluids after visits to the emergency room. But he never fully recovered. In October 2008, when Elijah was 19 months old, he was barely breathing when the Seritts rushed Elijah back to the emergency room. At the couple’s insistence, Elijah was given a CT scan which revealed the root of young Elijah’s problem – a mass in his...
By Elizabeth Shoemaker Speegle I was born with several facial congenital birth defects. I was treated at the Crippled Children's Clinic and the Children's Hospital all my little life. Every month my parents and I came to Birmingham for check-ups and procedures. I had extra ears removed from both sides of my face. Several eat tube surgeries and tonsils removed. And eventually later in life had reconstructive jaw surgery. I have eye issues also. I have Golden Har Syndrome. And when I had my...
Ella Brooke's Story By Lori Barefield Ella Brooke was born on March 10, 2006 in Dothan, Alabama. She was a beautiful and healthy baby girl. We were sent home from the hospital after a normal 48 hour stay. Our first night home was a nightmare! She didn't want to eat and would just get fighting mad every time that I would try to nurse her.
Ella Kate Anderson made headlines in her hometown of Hartselle in 2013 when at just four years old, she donated over 11 inches of her hair to Locks of Love. She did so in honor of a friend who was battling leukemia. The compassion of a child is always noteworthy, but this gesture was even more notable because Ella Kate is fighting her own battle with Cystic fibrosis (CF). “We want her to always remember how much time and effort people put into fundraising and supporting (a cure for) Cystic...
2/26/14 Mother’s Day is fast approaching, and for Lisa Clayton of Killen, AL, it promises to be a day of celebration with her husband, Ryan, and their three daughters – 4-year-old Ella Marie and 2-year-old identical twins Isabella and Sophia. But before the joy, there were also times of fear and anguish. “Shortly after Ella Marie was born, she was diagnosed with profound hearing loss,” explains Lisa. “I was told she was deaf – that she would not be able to hear.” Ella Marie had failed the...
After many years of trying to conceive, in June of 2009 we were blessed with the most beautiful brown haired, hazel-eyed miracle named Ellie Grace. We knew instantly that she would be special. Little did we know how special and strong our child would prove to be! On Easter Sunday 2010, we noticed a knot on Ellie Grace's back when she would bend and like any new parents, we were very concerned. She was 9 months old and the picture of a sweet and happy baby. We took her to the pediatrician the...
On April 7, 1994, due to complications, Elliott was born at 26 weeks gestation weighing only 1 lb 11 1/2 ounces and was only 13 inches long. He was born at UAB in Birmingham and struggled being on life support for 29 days and continuing to need oxygen following that. After five months he had not made considerable progress. He was still dependent on oxygen and was transferred to Children's Hospital for surgery to correct a hiatal hernia and to receive a gastrostomy for feeding. He came through...
My baby girl was born on August 19, 1993 and it was supposed to be the most exciting day, but it turned into the most scary day. I thought my baby girl was not going to make it. It took awhile for anybody to know what she had; they had never seen anything like it. She was born at Athens Limestone Hospital and then sent to Children's Hospital. As soon as my doctor released me, I was on my way to be with her. She was four days old when her little body had to go through and eight hour surgery! Dr....
Sixteen-year-old Emily Frederick of Gadsden is an inspiration to her family, her friends and to her caregivers at Children’s of Alabama. Her courage has, on occasion, brought even her doctors to tears. Emily has achondroplasia – in laymen’s terms, dwarfism. But that does not stop her from being a fiercely determined, fiercely independent nationally ranked Paralympian whose immediate goals are to make the 2016 USA Paralympic team and to earn a college scholarship. Marcia Farabee remembers...
When six year old Emily Knerr began waking at night with leg pains, her parents and pediatrician thought it was merely growing pains. Soon the leg pains were accompanied by stomach aches and weight loss. “They did blood work and said everything was fine,” said Emily’s mom, Amanda Knerr. A month later the stomach pains became so severe that the Knerrs rushed Emily to the emergency room of a hospital near their home in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. “We thought she had appendicitis, but her tumor had...
Submitted by Laura Walker The last day of kindergarten for my daughter Emily was May 23, 1996. She had a softball game that afternoon, and we all were excited about the last day of school and last ballgame. Her daddy was in charge of picking her up, but during their afternoon, they crossed paths with a train. The train hit the vehicle on Emily's side, where she was pinned in the door with the weight of a locomotive holding her head between the two. Had the ambulances not been only one block...
Emma Klaire was born on February 11, 2008. At two days old our pediatrician brought to our attention that Emma's head circumference was smaller than it should be for a full term baby. Emma was sent for a CAT scan which initially came back OK. After a series of blood tests she was initially diagnosed with CMV, cytomegaly virus. Dr. Melvin then referred us to Children's Hospital to see a specialist in the Infectious Disease Department. Our first trip was to see Dr. Crane in Infectious Diseases....
Emmy Rains had always been a healthy child, so when she complained of sharp stomach pain, her parents, Karen and Tyler, knew something was off. The symptoms worsened despite a visit to the local pediatrician and normal test results. The stomach pain was accompanied by constant diarrhea and eventually vomiting. Within a month, Emmy had lost 20 pounds, her energy gone. “She basically quit eating altogether,” Karen said. “At that point, I told our pediatrician that we had to go see a specialist...
Eric (2 lbs 3 oz) and Kaitlyn (2 lbs) were born 14 weeks early at UAB Hospital. Kaitlyn was transferred to Children's Hospital on June 2nd, 2006 due to NEC. Eric stayed at UAB but has since seen several doctors at UAB and Children's Hospital. He was diagnosed with Hydronephrosis, IVH Grade III, Grade III Reflux and a hole in his heart. He was able to come home to be with us on August 31st, 2006. His sister was in the hospital until Ocotber 18th, 2006. Today Eric is a happy and healthy 2.5 year...
In the course of a single day, Erica Wilson went from being an active 12-year-old who loved to dance to being told she would never walk again. On Feb. 23, 2010, Erica was playing basketball in her Physical Education class at Childersburg Middle School when she suddenly experienced what felt like an intense cramp in her lower right calf. The soreness quickly extended up her leg and down to her toes, and by the time she arrived at the Children’s of Alabama emergency department, she was screaming...
My name is Erika. I was born April 1991 with Spina Bifida at Huntsville Hospital. Not even 24 hours old, I was transported to Children's where I had my first spine closure surgery. Doctors told my parents I wouldn't make it pass the age of 3, 4 or 5 but here I am at almost 19. I was at Children's until I turned 18 last April. It is a great place.
Mike and Paula Estes of Abernant had always dreamed of having a large family. They started with Phillip, now age 3, and soon discovered they would need some help in providing him with a sibling. Paula’s doctor prescribed a very small dosage of the fertility drug, Clomid, and she soon became pregnant. Early in her pregnancy, she thought she might be miscarrying. That’s when a sonogram revealed she was going to have quintuplets. Since hers was a high-risk pregnancy, Paula was referred to the...
Ethan's Story By Jason, Suzanne & Ethan Sowash With no history of diabetes on either side of our families, you can imagine our shock when in January 2005 our three year old son Ethan was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. We had noticed he was drinking a lot more and going to the bathroom at least every 30 minutes. He would wake in the morning soaked from head to toe and still have to go before breakfast. We attributed it to a new teacher at daycare because he didn’t want to go to the bathroom in...
When Tisha and Brian Ward of Montgomery learned they were expecting baby Evan, they knew the likelihood of him being born with hemophilia was high. “I’m a carrier. I found out in my early teenage years and my younger brother was born a severe hemophiliac,” Tisha said. “We knew there was a chance, so we just knew we had to plan accordingly.” Hemophilia is a blood disorder in which the blood does not clot properly. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is a...
When Mary Ann Thomas went into labor two months early, she was life-flighted to Birmingham. Her doctors discovered that her twins had problems that extended far beyond their pre-maturity. After delivery, they were transported immediately to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital. Elliot and Evan Thomas had suffered from an intrauterine, twin to twin transfusion. Evan had all red blood cells and his brother Elliot had all white blood cells. The boys were given transfusions to...
In 1992, my right jaw was swollen and red. I went to my pediatric doctor and he sent me to a dentist. They told me that there was not a problem with my teeth. On the following day, the doctor called and told me he was sending me to another doctor and they were going to do a fine needle biopsy. I went on a Thursday and on that following Monday, my doctor (Dr. Caballero) called my mom and told her I had an appointment at Children's Hospital. I went thru many x-rays and blood work. They told my...
Savannah Black can describe the first days of her first born’s life in one word – chaos. Exton Timothy came into the world six weeks early in February 2017 and was soon diagnosed with Down syndrome. At 6 weeks old, he underwent surgery at Children’s of Alabama to repair a hole in his heart, then he had surgery for a G-tube (feeding tube) placement because he wasn’t eating. Nine days after Exton was discharged home, on the Blacks’ wedding anniversary, Exton stopped breathing during a 2 a.m....
Ezra Clint Wade was born on April 23, 2013, and appeared as normal as any other healthy, 8lb 15oz boy. It wasn’t until 6 weeks later, when we were giving him a bath, that we discovered a large, marble sized, blue lump on his neck which appeared in a matter of an hour. Panicked, we rushed him to the local ER where we weren’t given much of a diagnosis other than it wasn’t cancer, and it wasn’t life threatening at this time. We were asked to see our pediatrician the next morning when the office...
Flint Vick Wilsonville, Alabama In just a matter of months, life has forever changed for Flint Vick. Not only did he gain a family, but also the ability to hear. In January 2015, Brad and Tiffany adopted Flint from an orphanage in China when he was eighteen months old. Before the adoption, Brad and Tiffany knew there was a strong possibility that the little boy was deaf. His file said that he had bilateral microtia, which means his external ears are deformed, and atresia, which means he has...
Frances Grace Hirs, a very brave little girl from Baldwin County is an expert on cancer, chemo, and leukemia. She was referred to Children's Hospital by her local pediatrician in August of 2003. There, she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), which is a serious type of blood cancer. She endured chemo and all of its side effects. She suffered a fractured back in five places and had to have a feeding tube. She lost all of her hair. Her parents, Allen and Debbie Hirs watched...
The kitchen is Fuller Goldsmith’s happy place. It’s one of the few places where he doesn’t think about the L-word – leukemia. He finds solace in the chopping and stirring, the frying and sautèeing; he is, by all accounts a true chef and a true survivor. So when the Food Network selected Fuller to be on the popular show “Chopped Junior,” it was no surprise the 13-year-old from Tuscaloosa went on the win the show’s $10,000 grand prize. Fuller defeated three competitors to earn the title of...
Monday, April 30, 2007 started as any other day. I knew Fuller had not been feeling well or acting like himself, but I had valid reasons behind all of his behavior. However, Leukemia had crossed my mind several times in the last few weeks, and I of course had looked up the symptoms on the internet, so I knew what I knew but didn't want to know it. He had been diagnosed with strep and I was supposed to wait one more day to do a recheck, but I knew I had to get him to the doctor that day....
With bright blonde hair, a stubborn cowlick and big, soulful eyes, Gabriel Grimes looks as healthy, active and determined as any three-year-old. But stand him next to his twin sister, Samiya, or his preschool classmates and you’ll see that he’s shorter, smaller. On the playground he’s weaker, too, taking rest breaks as he struggles to keep up with the other children. But he’s growing and thriving, thanks to the care he’s received at the Pediatric and Congenital Heart Center of Alabama located...
August 2020 will mark five years since 11-year-old Gabrielle “Gabby” Bolden of Birmingham received her new heart at Children’s of Alabama. Since that time, her life has been full throttle, juggling her love of basketball, tumbling, soccer and track and field with her schoolwork. “And I want to try volleyball, too!” she exclaims. Gabby doesn’t take for granted the ability to shoot hoops or flip through the air or run as fast as she can. Every day, she chooses to live life to the fullest,...
On July 30, 2012 Gabryella & her twin Izabella were born prematurely at 32.4 weeks gestation. Bella needed oxygen and monitoring. Gabby seemed fine until we noticed she hadn't pooped. So at two days old, she left her sister to go to Children’s where they found a plug/blockage in her small intestine. At one week old, Gabby had an ileostomy done. Over the course of the next few months she would grow. At two months old, her sister left to go home. At 3 months old we were told Gabby could go home,...
The Blakely Journey By Val (mom) to Gage and Brook When our first child was diagnosed with Goldenhar Syndrome, we had a long list of areas of concern we needed checked out before he received a clean bill of health. One of the last areas we checked was his ears. At four months of age we found out he was profoundly deaf. Though very relieved he had no other serious health concerns, we were immediately referred to the Pediatric ENT and Associates where Doctor Woolley gave us the information we...
Diagnosed with asthma at an early age, Garrett Goggans would experience regular attacks triggered by pollen, cold weather or excessive physical exertion. “It was a common part of his life as a young child,” said Garrett’s father, Tommie Goggans. Garrett’s asthma attacks were managed by prescription medication or an inhaler, or if the attack was more serious, a trip to the local hospital emergency room for breathing treatments. Then one evening, Garrett had an asthma attack and nothing helped –...
Geraldine Hunt As U.S. troops sought victory in Europe and the Pacific, now-classic movies like National Velvet and Meet Me in St. Louis played in theatres and Big Band music was all the rage, eight-year-old Geraldine Hunt Cole faced her first night away from home. The little girl from Jefferson County needed to have her tonsils removed, so the family climbed into her grandparents’ car and made the trip to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham. “I had a whole paper sack of toys,” Jerry...
Today is a beautiful day in May. The warm rays of the sun and butterflies that welcome the early summer fill me with a deep sorrow. A light breeze brings whispers to the trees and seem to carry the lovely voice of my son, who died some years ago of acute lymphocytic leukemia. He was just seven years old. It was a Sunday night, while nature was showing off her colorful dress and life was felt everywhere. Then I thought, the world would have to come to an end. Painfully enough, life went on as...
Grace Holder When Grace Holder was born on November 6, 2002, she was just like her twin sister, Georgia. But about six months later, Grace began exhibiting questionable symptoms. “She wasn’t achieving basic milestones like her sister, like pulling up on the side of the crib,” Grace’s mother, Lee, said. “I also noticed by the way she was holding her hands that it seemed as if something was wrong.” When Grace was just nine months old, the family traveled from their home in Corinth, Mississippi,...
Grace is our beautiful 5 year old daughter. She was born three months early due to complications with my pregnancy. I was told if she was not born that day I would die. She was born at UAB weighing only 1 pound, 15 ounces. She was not doing well after birth. Her lungs were not mature and she was on the ventilator. She had IV's coming from her umbilical cord and was under the lights most of the time. When they tried to feed her through a tube her belly blew up. It turned blue and the food was...
Grace Anne was born almost 2 months premature due to pregnancy induced pre-eclampsia. She was progressing fine in the NICU in Huntsville Alabama. When she went for her first pediatrician's appointment, after finally coming home at one month old, her pediatrician discovered she had a severe brain bleed. He then set her up with an appointment with Dr. Jerry Oakes. He scheduled surgery for the next morning. He implanted a subgaleal shunt to draw the blood clot off of her brain. At eleven months...
Chandra and John Holland of Athens will never forget that day in March when doctors told them their youngest daughter had been born with Crouzon syndrome with acanthosis nigricans (CAN)—a very rare genetic condition occurring in just one per million births. She also was diagnosed with hydrocephalus and Chiari malformation. “Crouzon can cause disfigurement, breathing problems and even mental impairment,” Chandra explains. “We were told that Gracie might never walk or talk or hear. Shortly after...
Gracie Poole has amassed quite the bead collection in her eight years. Each “Bead of Courage,” unique in size, color and shape, tells a story grit, love and faith; each represent a treatment completed, a hardship conquered. One could say the beads are a power source for the adventurous 8 year old who has overcome every hurdle tossed in her path. Gracie was born in October 2007 at 36 weeks gestation and admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children’s of Alabama, where doctors...
Gracie's Garden of GraceAuthor's By Jennifer Poole Gracie was admitted to the SCU on February 2, 2008, for RSV! She was to be there for approximately 5-7 days! She quickly made a turn for the worse, and was intubated in an emergency situation. She was then transferred to the PICU and we stayed there for a couple of months!! The PICU docs and nurses were all so attentive and caring towards Gracie and her needs, as well as ours! This was a very stressful time for our family, but they were...
When Grady McMillan was born on December 31, 2014, he appeared to be perfectly healthy. But at his one-month checkup, his pediatrician heard what sounded like a heart murmur and referred Grady and his parents, Tara and Jody, to a cardiologist. Grady was diagnosed with Ebstein anomaly of the tricuspid valve – a rare heart defect in which the valve between the two right heart chambers doesn’t work properly. He was also diagnosed with an atrial septal defect – a hole in the wall between the two...
Brain Tumor Survival Story By Brandon and Paula Grayson had an MRI on October 2, 2008 which showed a mass on his brain. We were immediately sent to Children's. We met with the neurosurgeon and surgery was scheduled for October 6. On October 8 we found out, by repeat MRI, that 100% of the tumor was removed. On October 16 we found out the tumor was benign. If not for the staff, nurses and physicians and our faith in God, we would have never made it through this ordeal. We can never express our...
On Dec. 29, 2012, our world changed as our precious little bundle of joy, Grayson, was born healthy as can be. All my prenatal checkups went great, and all of the postnatal checkups were great as well! We were getting ready to go home a few days later and our world was flipped upside down as our little boy was having respiratory issues and had to be transported by ambulance to Baptist South NICU in Montgomery, Ala. My husband and father-in-law drove behind while I waited to be discharged...
At six weeks of age, Greyson Holmes became very sick. He was mysteriously spiking fevers and becoming increasingly sicker as the days went by. After several visits to the local pediatrician and a week long stay in a local hospital, Greyson was rushed to Children’s Hospital. Greyson had serious breathing problems on the ambulance ride to Children’s Hospital. His Mother, Stacey, said she felt immediate relief when they arrived at Children’s and a team of medical professionals met them at the...
On Thanksgiving Day 2011, our 8 year old daughter was involved in a serious ATV accident. She was unresponsive when we found her and our Crew Cab Polaris Ranger was on top of her. Halee was airlifted to a Dothan, Alabama hospital, and then airlifted to Children's Hospital. Once arriving at Children's, we were hit with a parent's worst nightmare. We were told our little girl might not make it through the night. Halee was on a ventilator, had 2 chest tubes, and multiple ivs. She had 6 broken...
In Birmingham CHARGE Syndrome is not a new condition, but in Montgomery, there isn't anyone else I know who has a young child diagnosed, so treatment here is where I teach the doctors about my child. When we were first sent to Dr. Wooley to talk to him about the Cochlear implant and to drill through bone blocking her nostrils so she could breathe through her nose, we didn't have to explain anything. He has treated several children with the syndrome. He listened to us and scheduled her for...
It’s not often cancer is considered a positive experience. For cancer survivors Hannah Acton and Logan Whitehead, their respective journeys led to a joyful engagement and plans for a future filled with happiness. At age 2 and a half, Hannah was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a cancer that affects the white blood cells. “It all started with a severe cold,” Hannah said. “My brother and I both had colds, and while he was getting better after a couple of days, I...
Mechia and Matthew Nickerson of Auburn, AL, are on a mission. They even have a tagline they use frequently in their conversation and on T-shirts: “Peace, Love, Cure—Hannah Grace.” Their 8-year-old daughter, Hannah, was diagnosed with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) when she was 5 days old. SCD, an inherited blood disorder that affects red blood cells, is the number one cause of stroke and brain injury in childhood. Each year, 50-75 Alabama children are born with the disease. “I knew I had the...
Holley Brundidge is the proud mother of five. Having five kids is a miracle and a challenge all rolled into one, but her journey of miracles and challenges have been one that many of us can only imagine. Three of her five kids have had major health experiences at Children’s Hospital. The Brundidge’s first experience with Children’s was with their daughter Hannah. Whenever she would cry she’d choke and gasp for air. Hannah was treated for a year for her asthma-like symptoms until she was...
Doctors suspected Harmony Cooper had sickle cell disease when she was just days old. For first-time mother Briona Leonard, the prospect was both unnerving and intimidating. “We were leaving the hospital a few days after her birth when doctors handed me a letter suggesting she get further testing at a specialty clinic,” Leonard said. “So we went and had all the blood work done to find out.” When Harmony was 2 weeks old, her sickle cell diagnosis was official. Harmony was referred to...
Harris was born on 5/16/03 weighing 11 lbs. When he was 5 weeks old, he was not eating well and not gaining weight. We saw the only Pediatric GI Specialist in Montgomery and after 2 hospitalizations to run several tests, we chose to seek a GI specialist at the foremost hospital for children in the state of AL, Children's Hospital Birmingham. We got an appointment with Dr. Shezad Saeed in the GI clinic. During our first appointment, we discussed what Harris had been through in the first 6...
Beth Phillips will never forget that day at Children’s of Alabama in November of 2012. She and her husband, Jonathan, were in shock as cardiologist Yung Lau, MD, confirmed their greatest fear for their firstborn son, Henry. “I remember him telling us ‘I know now that I have told you your son has a heart defect you won’t hear anything else I have to say because you are trying to process. You can call me at any time and I will answer any questions you may have.’ “We were amazed that the...
Visits to Children’s of Alabama are a family affair for 4-year-old Jacquelyn Watson and her brother, 8-year-old Herman Sims. Both children are patients at the hospital’s Pulmonary Medicine Clinic. Diagnosed when he was just 1 year old, Herman has chronic asthma that has required numerous hospitalizations. “Because we were in Children’s so much, his pediatrician referred him to the Pulmonary Clinic,” said his mother, Hermenia Sims. When she was 3, Jacquelyn began having repeated cases of...
Hunter Davis was 2 weeks old when he was diagnosed with the biliary atresia – a rare disease of the liver and bile ducts that occurs in infants. Hunter’s bile ducts were inflamed and blocked, causing bile to build up in his liver and destroy his cells. Symptoms of the disease develop about two to eight weeks after birth. “Two weeks after he was born, we noticed his skin yellowing and it wasn’t going away,” said Heather Davis, Hunter’s mom. “The doctors originally thought it was jaundice, but...
As a former member of the nursing staff at the Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at UAB, I thought I new everything about having a new baby. However, when Ingram was 13 days old she felt warm and indeed she had temperature. We took her to the children's ED and we were told our newborn baby had meningitis. Crushed, I found faith I never had. After 48 hours we were told it was viral and we were discharged. At 6-8 weeks old she became sick again, and after hospitalization we were told our...
Child of Children’s – Jaamal Jones, Dothan, Alabama By Jennifer Walker-Journey The night doctors said they did all they could do for 5-year-old Jaamal Jones, his aunt Barbara Curry says a miracle happened. It was late at night and she was with Jaamal’s family in the ICU waiting room at Children’s Hospital of Alabama, where Jaamal had been for more than 10 weeks. But that night was different. Jaamal had taken a turn for the worse. The little boy’s body was giving out and doctors told the...
Jamie Calaway never imagined her infant son Jace would be admitted to Children’s of Alabama fighting for his life, but she was grateful such a place existed. Children’s was where Jace needed to be. Jace was born prematurely with Down syndrome and an atrioventricular (AV) canal defect – a large hole in the center of the heart that would require surgery. The initial plan was to do surgery when Jace turned 1, giving him time to grow, but unbeknownst to doctors and Jamie, Jace was silently...
Two days after Deja Black gave birth to son Jackson in June 2013, doctors diagnosed the newborn with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) – a congenital heart defect in which the left side of the heart (the part that pumps oxygenated blood to the rest of the body) is underdeveloped. The diagnosis came as a complete shock to Deja. She sailed through her pregnancy with no complications and Jackson, by all accounts, was happy and healthy. However, babies with HLHS appear healthy at birth...
On Friday, September 13, 2002 our son Jackson, 16 months old, pulled a crock pot off the counter top in our kitchen, spilling hot liquid on his tiny body. Luckily we lived only blocks from Children's Hospital at the time, and he was rushed there. Within an hour of the accident, he was in the Children's Burn Unit undergoing hydro-therapy. It was determined that he had deep and superficial second degree burns on 22% of his body. Dr. Hardin told us to expect him to be at Children's for at least 22...
Jackson Glover is one of dozens of children who are being helped by an innovative therapy offered at Children’s of Alabama. The pediatric comprehensive behavioral intervention program for tic disorders (CBIT) is providing relief for children who experience the involuntary movements or vocal sounds commonly referred to as “tics.” In August 2011, 7-year-old Jackson was looking forward to beginning practice with his football team. “He just woke up one morning with his head shaking. It scared us...
Just moments after Jackson Griffin was born on October 5, 2012, doctors at Flowers Hospital in Dothan knew he would need the help of Children’s of Alabama and its heart surgery team in order to survive. “We found out that Jackson had a congenital heart defect,” says his mother, Debbie. “He was flown to Children’s three hours after he was born.” Jackson suffered from “d-transposition of the great arteries.” When d-transposition occurs in the heart, the aorta and pulmonary arteries are...
Jackson Griggs travels around the world to visit Children’s Hospital of Alabama In February of 2008 Tracy and Robert Griggs were living in Romania on a military assignment. Jackson Griggs, their 3 yr old son became ill, he woke up one morning not able to move and couldn’t walk. After visiting with military doctors they were sent to hospitals in Europe to help diagnose their son. Unfortunately they were unable to help Jackson. It was time to transfer Jackson back to the states to a hospital...
In August 2003, Jackson was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 9 weeks. He required multiple insulin injections each day to control his diabetes. His treatment was going well, but we knew this lifestyle would be difficult for him as he got older. During one of our routine clinic visits to Dr. Latif, he provided us with some material to research regarding a study in England that looked at a specific gene mutation that had been discovered in only approx 30 people in the world. He felt...
Jackson “Blu” Hill of Daphne, Alabama was a typical 11-year-old boy who rarely sat still, loved football and rode four-wheelers. That was until he was diagnosed with a rare genetic heart disorder called Brugada a syndrome, a condition in which the electrical activity within the heart is abnormal. Blu suffered sudden cardiac arrest and almost lost his life, but he survived thanks to a piece of wearable technology known as the LifeVest. Six weeks earlier on a usual summer night, Blu’s older...
Like many teenage boys in the smaller towns of Alabama, Jacob Browder’s life was filled with friends, school, football -- and the rodeo. “He has always been a cowboy,” his mother, Susan, said. “He has always had a heart for rodeo.” He started bull riding at age 13 and participated in 12 competitions, including the Youth World Finals in Texas the summer of 2013. That prestigious event draws competitors from all over the globe and only the best are invited to participate. Bull riding requires...
The Alabama and Mississippi Gulf Coast was dessimated after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 leaving many medical care providers stretched thin to cover the coast from Mississippi to Florida. Jacob had become noticeably ill with weight loss, bruising, fever, chills, and often, pain. We waited three months in our hometown to see a doctor only to find out that we did not have the "referral" we needed while sitting in the specialist's office that day. Our pediatrician sent Jacob to see Dr. Stephen King...
Before Jacob Pettie was born, doctors knew something was awry. Symptoms were evident when his mother, Melissa, was about 18 weeks pregnant. “I was having some routine blood work done, and one level happened to come back extremely high,” she said. Melissa was referred from her hometown of Dothan to Birmingham for a special ultrasound, which led to an amniocentesis. “That showed the same level was also high in the amniotic fluid,” she said. “At that point, they started testing Jacob for...
Jacob Saelens is much like any other 9-year-old. But unlike most other kids, it wasn’t until recently that he really got that chance. Since before Jacob was born, he’s had problems with his heart. Doctors discovered that his left ventricle was too small when his mother, Brandy, was 22 weeks pregnant with him. Dr. Bennett Pearce at Children’s of Alabama immediately sent Brandy to Boston for in utero surgery to stretch Jacob’s aorta so that he would survive until birth. When he was born at 37...
For 13-year-old Jacob Smitherman, sickle cell disease has always been a part of life – he was diagnosed in utero. His parents both carried the sickle cell trait, prompting doctors to perform an amniocentesis when his mother was five months pregnant. “He is blessed that he has not had any serious complications with his sickle cell,” Jacob’s stepmother, Cortelyou Smitherman, said. “For him, it has been more about managing it and getting the right medications. Thankfully, his doctors at...
I was pregnant with my 5th child and was 4 months along when I went in for a regular ultrasound to find out what it was going to be. The tech told me that she was a girl but she thought that she needed the head tech to come in and look at something on the screen. She told me that they couldn’t get a good picture of her belly button and that they really needed it, so they would be calling me back in for another check. I have four previous children and never had I had to go back and have...
Jada Lucas rarely got sick as a child, so when she suddenly lost her energy and developed unexplained bruises, it was a big deal. “I frequently got tired and wasn’t wanting to do the normal things a 9-year-old would want to do,” said Jada, now age 22. “We thought the bruise was just a spider bite, but my mom took me to the doctor anyway just to make sure.” Lab tests revealed a diagnosis of severe aplastic anemia – a disease in which the bone marrow does not produce enough blood cells for the...
The road to kindergarten has not been an easy one for 5-year-old Jakarri Johnson of Montgomery – but thanks to his friends and caregivers at Children’s of Alabama, he’s doing just fine now! Jakarri was born prematurely, and it soon became apparent he would not be able to receive adequate nutrition by mouth. Shortly after his birth, doctors at Children’s placed a gastrostomy tube (g-tube) into his abdomen so nutrition and medications could be delivered directly to his stomach. Soon, he was...
Five years ago our family was enjoying a normal Sunday when Jake Nummy our 13 year old was out in the field behind the house riding his four wheeler like both of our boys did all the time. Jake’s ride ended up changing our lives for ever. He flipped the four wheeler and it landed on his head. He was air lifted to Children's Hospital in Birmingham, AL. We were told that he may not make it to the Hospital with the type of head injury he sustained. The second we arrived at Children’s Hospital we...
“Never give up…do whatever it takes. Don’t ever start something then quit.” These words inspired Jake Simmons when he learned he had Leukemia at the age of 17. “It was one of the first things my dad taught me how to do…to fight for life,” said Jake. At the time of Jake’s diagnosis this advice had a distinct meaning to him, because his father had died of the cancer mesothelioma (most commonly caused by asbestos) when Jake was only 10 years old. His father’s inspiring words, and his example to...
James Lee Gable was born in July of 1962 a happy healthy baby who by the time he turned three could barely breathe, eat or sleep. Although he had to be propped on a pillow to sleep, banging his head in an effort to breathe and could only eat small bites of soft foods like his favorite mayonnaise sandwiches the doctors in Boaz could do nothing for him. Jamie continued to survive with stick thin arms and legs and an abdomen as big around as he was tall until a new physician recommended a trip to...
His family and friends call him “The Strong 1.” He plays basketball and tennis, loves to swim and is passionate about his Alabama Crimson Tide football team. He works to raise awareness and funds for children who struggle with life-threatening medical conditions, and he is a mentor to younger children. He also inspired his mother to achieve her dream of being a teacher who holds a master’s degree in collaborative special education. And, later this year, he’ll represent Alabama as a Champion...
April 7, 2002 was supposed to be one of the best days in James and Stephanie Yarbrough’s life as they prepared to welcome their baby girl, Jamilynn into the world. Shortly after the doctor broke Stephanie’s water, however, everything went terribly wrong. Three minutes later, the heart monitor attached to Stephanie’s stomach went flat, and she was rushed into the OR at St. Vincent’s Hospital for an emergency Caesarean. Upon delivery, the medical staff realized that Jamilynn’s umbilical cord...
Max was born on March 31, 2006, at UAB, 12 weeks earlier than expected. He weighed 1 lb. 15 oz. He stayed in the hospital for 91 days, six of those days on a ventilator. After being released from UAB, we returned to Birmingham two weeks later for hernia repair surgery at Children's. I was a little nervous about having him put to sleep. He was only a little over five pounds. Dr. Saito was great. The surgery went fine, and you can barely see a scar now. He was also under Dr. David Lazono's care...
Janae, now age 7, was diagnosed with Type I diabetes on September 27, 2006 at the age of 4. It is a day that our family will never forget. Janae spent three days in a local hospital. Within 72 hours we were educated on how to manage her diabetes. It was scary, but Janae's health became our top priority. Janae was seeing an endocrinologist in Huntsville and we would have to wait four months until she could see Dr. Abullatif. We had heard so many good things about him. Finally, in February 2007,...
Janey Carter was afraid she’d be late to volleyball practice. It was the start of a new season and the team had a new coach. In a hurry and driving too fast, Janey veered off the road and hit a tree. “Thankfully, someone saw the wreck happen and called 911 immediately,” said Janey’s mother, Heather. “An ambulance and helicopter were immediately sent to her location and they airlifted her to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).” Janey had dislocated her skull from her spine,...
Janice Pelfrey My name is Janice (Collean Stone) Pelfrey and I am responding to your "former patients ad". I was born in Selma, AL in May of 1949. We lived in the country and at the age of 2, in June of 1951, I got really sick. My symptoms were fever, malaise, headache, nausea and vomiting, excruciating muscle pain and stiffness in my neck and back. At first my parents thought I had the flu, but when I was running across the room to greet my daddy, I fell down and couldn't get up. I was rushed...
In 1960 when I was seven months old I was diagnosed with polio. In 1968 I came to Birmingham to Children’s Hospital and had a muscle transplant. I also got to have my picture in the newspaper. I had to undergo several months of physical therapy; my parents couldn’t afford to go back and forth so I had to stay at the hospital. I got an award for helping out with others while I stayed there. You couldn’t have asked for nicer people. My heart and thanks go out to them. It means more than I can...
Like most 9-year-old boys, Jaquares Bates is all about superheroes. And like the strong characters he so admires, Jaquares has long exhibited a heroic strength all his own. Jaquares was diagnosed in utero with prune belly syndrome, a rare disorder caused by a host of issues, including problems in the urinary tract. Jaquares developed a blockage in his urethra. “Most kids with prune belly are usually stillborn,” said his mother, Jevita Lane. “Typically, about one out of every five kids with...
Pregnancy often brings a surprise or two with it, but the news Siobhan White received while expecting her son, JJ, set the family on a course they never planned. Routine prenatal testing led to a diagnosis of sickle cell disease for both White and her new baby. Shortly after his birth in August, 2006, JJ was referred to Children’s of Alabama to be seen by pediatric hematologist Dr. Tom Howard. Because several relatives were afflicted, the family was aware of sickle cell disease but soon found...
Jordan and Jarrett Franklin were excited about becoming parents, and confident they would introduce their son Jase to his new nursery a few short days after birth. They never imagined it would take nearly a month, and a team of exceptional health professionals, for him to become well enough to go home. Jase was born at a local hospital where, initially, he appeared healthy. Then, his caregivers noticed his oxygen saturation levels were low, so he was transferred to the Cardiovascular...
About 31 years ago, when Jason Peterson was around two years old, he suffered second and third degree burns on his entire chest and back with blisters the size of softballs. I rushed Jason to the emergency room at Children's Hospital in Birmingham, AL. The doctor and nurses who treated Jason were simply awesome. They went the extra mile in Jason’s care and thoroughly instructed me on how to continue treatment of Jason’s burns to avoid infection and permanent damage. Because of the caring and...
My name is Javokious Laster. I'm 15 years old and I was diagnosed with Leukemia (ALL) on August 26, 2007. When we first learned of this at Baptist East and then at Children's Hospital in Birmingham it was very hard on our family. But with our prayers and the prayers of family and friends, also church family, I've been blessed with a longer life. I have a new lease on life and I can share it with the world and fulfill all my dreams. Children's Hospital to our family means life. The staff in...
On June 23, 2005 our lives forever changed. Jaxon was born at approx. 1:30 pm at Decatur General Hospital. As soon as he was born, he was transferred to the nearest NICU in North Alabama. Little did we know, Jaxon was VERY special. After testing in the NICU we became aware that Jaxon was born with a rare genetic makeup. To be exact, so rare that he is only one of about 40 documented cases. He has a chromosome 10p deletion, trisomy 6. When Jaxon was just under two months old, he was transferred...
Jayden Booker is “all boy,” says his mother, Shereka Softley. His three loves? Spider-Man, basketball and laser tag. “He’s so active. When I tell people he’s had a heart transplant, they are surprised. You just can’t tell by looking at him today,” Shereka said. At 4 months old, doctors thought Jayden was suffering from pneumonia, but a routine follow-up revealed it was heart failure. He was diagnosed with restrictive cardiomyopathy, a rare form of heart muscle disease, after traveling to...
When Jaylee Beth Smith was born at Helen Keller Hospital, her family did not realize that she would have anything in common with the famous namesake of her birthplace. For the first year of her life, Jaylee Beth never heard her Daddy call her name, her Mommy say “I Love You”, or her brothers sing to her. Two days after Jaylee Beth’s birth her parents were informed that she had some type of hearing loss. At six weeks old, she was sent to Children’s Hospital and was diagnosed as profoundly deaf....
At 15-months, Jaylen Smiley seemed to be a happy and healthy baby. Three months later Violet Smiley began to observe changes in her son. “He was a very good baby, but I noticed he was becoming irritable and didn’t sleep,” she said. Believing that Jaylen had an ear infection, his pediatrician started him on antibiotics. “He didn’t get any better and I also noticed that his stomach was protruding,” Smiley said. After more antibiotics and a round of injections failed to clear up what his doctors...
Ever since she was a little girl, Jazzlind Cunningham longed to be a nurse. Something about the profession drew her in, especially after the care she received from nurses at Children’s of Alabama. Jazzlind was born with sickle cell disease. From the time she was an infant, she traveled monthly from her home in Montgomery to Children’s in Birmingham to see pediatric hematologist Dr. Thomas Howard. “My sickle cell was very uncontrolled as a child, so I started receiving monthly blood...
Hello, my name is Jeff Perry, and both my daughter Victoria and I have been treated at Children’s Hospital. I was born with a birth defect called Cranial Facial Syndrome. I had my first head surgery when I was just three months old and spent most of my childhood under doctors’ care at the Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama. There are no words to describe this hospital, but what an awesome place! The doctors and staff were really great! They took the time to listen to me and really...
My name is Jeffretta Splunge. I am15 years old. I was diagnosed with a kidney disease when I was only eight years old. My first reaction was feeling scared and confused at how this could happen to me. When I tell people they think I’m not telling the truth because I look perfectly healthy on the outside. I felt sad and alone at times. I take a lot of medicine each day. Through family friends and prayer we are getting through this alright. I still see Dr. Benfield at Children’s Hospital. My...
One afternoon in 1972, Linda Allen found herself back where she had spent much of her childhood – only this time her son was the patient. The afternoon started as a normal Sunday at Linda’s mother’s house. Linda’s mother sent her son, Jeffrey, outside to help burn trash. While they were burning trash, Linda’s step-brother threw gasoline on the fire, and the flames flew back and caught Jeffrey on fire. Her step-brother rolled Jeffrey in the grass to put the fire out, but his face, arms, legs...
When I was 4 years old I was admitted to Children's after suffering from 3rd degree burns on my chest. Every day for two weeks I returned to the hospital to have my burns thoroughly cleaned and wrapped with gauze. Although it did hurt, I looked forward to coming in and seeing the smiling faces and sensing the genuine care for me. So, here I am, 31 years later without a single scar, physical or emotional from that experience. I have remained connected to Children's over the years through my...
By Kathy Young April 2, 1976 I delivered our first child at CMMC. As soon as he was born the doctors knew something was wrong. A medical team from Children's came to pick him up. They left with him before I got to see him . My husband and mother followed from the time they enter the doors at Children's they were kept informed of all that was happening. Our son was taken into surgery, which was performed by Dr. Walter Cain. After hours of surgery we were told his chance of survival was five...
I am writing to say Children’s Hospital is a wonderful place. The doctors and nurses are really good. My son has been coming to the hospital since 1980. He was a seven month old baby and had some problems breathing and fluid on his brain. He had a VP shunt placed and six to eight surgeries at Children’s Hospital. A lot of nurses as well as doctors knew his face. I was told he may not live to see five years old. He is now 28 years old, married and now has a three year old little girl. I would...
Jeron Goodwin came into the world on December 30, 2000 with a very wide smile. A smile that was much wider than it should have been. Jeron was born with a wide complete unilateral cleft lip and palate. Jeron's parents David and Shannon Goodwin found out about Jeron's condition before he was born due to a routine ultrasound performed at Shannon's OB/GYN. Jeron made his first trip to Children's Hospital on January 11, 2001. He was just 12 days old. It was at cleft Clinic that Jeron was introduced...
My Courage By Jesse Thompson On June 23, 2002 my life changed forever. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I was only 3 and my 4th birthday was next month. I went to the local emergency room when my mom had a "mom feeling" that something was wrong after I had been up all night drinking and wetting my clothes and my bed. The doctors there were great, but I was scared. The nurses were the best. One of my nurses, Lisa, saw how frightened I was and she gave me a real Indian arrowhead she had in...
As Miss America’s Outstanding Teen, Jessica Baeder travels around the country and spends time with kids at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Whether it’s a quick bedside chat or a playtime activity, Jessica finds joy in making a child’s day a little brighter. And it wasn’t long ago when she, too, was in need of a reassuring smile or a lighthearted distraction. When Jessica was about 5 years old, she fell ill frequently, as did her younger sister, Juliana. “Each time it happened they would...
When I was 4 years old I was a very sick child. I had severe asthma and an ear infection. My parents and doctors did not know that I was also dehydrated. All the medication that I was taking was building up in my system and led me to an overdose at the beginning of the 1980 year. I had a gran-mal seizure while in my mom's arms at home. I quit breathing and my dad had to do CPR on me twice before the paramedics arrived. I was rushed to Children's where they did all they could and told my parents...
JoAnn West was 4 years old when she was diagnosed with polio. For almost a year, JoAnn went to Children’s Hospital for polio treatments. She doesn’t have many memories of her time at Children’s, but she does remember the bus rides back and forth. Her mother didn’t drive, so they took the bus from their home in Huntsville to Children’s Hospital. After almost of year of traveling from Huntsville to Birmingham, Children’s set up treatments for her in Huntsville and she was able to begin receiving...
By Roseanna Paulin Joseph Lawrence Michael Paulin was born on April 12, 2004. Joey was 9 pounds, 3 ounces and 21.5 inches long. Immediately we noticed that Joey's eyes would roll back into his head. A team of doctors told us that Joey was being admitted to the NICU. We were later told that Joey had an immature nervous system, and if the rest of his tests were negative then we could take him home in a few days. On April 15, we left the hospital without Joey. We received a phone call later that...
John Fisher’s first memory is of going to Colbert County Hospital when he was just two years old. It was 1930. His mother was making an extraordinary effort to seek help for John’s talipes condition. Commonly known as club foot, this congenital deformity causes twisting of the ankles, heels, toes and feet. John’s mother knew he would likely not be able to walk without medical intervention. The Colbert County staff told her that help was available at Children’s Hospital, in Birmingham. For...
Our Children’s journey began in November of 1991 when our first child son, John, was rushed from our home town of Panama City, Florida to Children’s at 4-1/2 months old. This was for emergency surgery to remove intestinal blockage. John was born with Hirschsprung's disease. John underwent “pull-through” surgery at 15 months and again at 10 years old. John has also been diagnosed with growth-hormone deficiency, hypothyroidism and Pseudo-Tumor Cerebri and is followed by Endocrine and Neurosurgery...
John Charlton Smith came to Children’s Hospital in 1943, when he was just seven years old. At that time Children’s Hospital was known as the Crippled Children’s Clinic. J.C.’s doctors diagnosed him with polio and he spent the next four years in the hospital battling the virus. A few years ago, J.C. had his hips replaced and while discussing his medical history his doctor mentioned that he may not have been suffering from Polio, but instead an uncommon disease with similar symptoms. Medical...
Mr. John Ed Robinson has known first-hand what a special place Children’s Hospital is since he was first treated here more than 65 years ago. In 1945, Mr. Robinson, a lifelong resident of Centre, Ala., was stricken with poliomyelitis (polio). He was six years old. The doctors he saw in Georgia sent him to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, which was then called the Crippled Children’s Hospital. Mr. Robinson said that he and his father had to make many trips to Birmingham, and he credits the...
Theresa Mulkey knew there was something wrong with her son John Michael by the sound of his newborn cry. It didn’t sound like that of his older brother David. It was high pitched, like the shrill of a kitten. “I’m a nurse. My husband is a nurse. I worked for a pediatrician in Hoover, and I kept telling people something was wrong with my son,” Theresa recalls. “But they said he was fine. They told me I had postpartum depression.” When John Michael was 6 months old, she took him back to the...
John had not been feeling well for a couple of weeks. We had seen our local physician several times. The first visit they said it was viral and he would just have to wait it out. The second time they gave us an antibiotic, but nothing seemed to be working. He would go from the bed to the couch and was walking less and less. He had no energy and wanted to sleep all the time. When we would move him he began to act like it was very uncomfortable. Almost like it hurt to move. On Saturday April...
Johnathan’s Mom remembers: On May 18, 2006 my entire family was involved in a near fatal car accident. Johnathan was thrown from the vehicle. His little body was broken and his face had to be repaired because the laceration to the left side was so deep. Doctor's had to operate inside his head. When he was finally released from Children’s Hospital, which was around the end of June, he was on a feeding tube. Johnathan couldn't talk, walk or even hold himself up and he had no control of his bowel....
My story is about Johnathan Stancil. He was born on August 26, 1989 in Jacksonville, Alabama and was a very healthy boy. At 6 months he got spinal meningitis and spent 16 days in Anniston and about two weeks after that we ended up at Children's he was throwing up and when he went to the eye doctor he said something was wrong and told us we needed to go to children's and be seen by a doctor over there and we went and saw Dr. Rutledge. She put him in the hospital right away. She started drawing...
Tazzi Carter has seen her share of challenges, but she never guessed when she delivered her daughter Jonadya Daniels that anything could go wrong. That’s when she noticed something strange with her daughter’s right arm. Even as a newborn, she held the arm close to her body with little range of motion. It didn’t improve over the weeks and months. Jonadya was soon diagnosed with a brachial plexus injury. The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that sends signals from the spine to the...
Jon has undergone numerous surgeries since his premature birth. Dr. Jimmy Scott Hill with Pediatric ENT Associates has been with Jon through most of them. Jon had a successful trachea removal when he was two and a half years old, and then he began having several problems with his ears, which was diagnosed as Stenosis. Dr. Hill worked with Children’s Hear center, and Jon was fitted with a BAHA processor two years ago. It has been life changing for him. Thank you Children’s for being there, and...
Ask most parents of toddlers, and they will tell you that tantrums are part of growing up. For Jordan Kilgore, those tantrums led to a surprising discovery that changed her world for the better. Jordan was born in January 2012, about six weeks early. By the time Jordan turned 18 months, she began having frequent tantrums. She also experienced recurring ear infections, and by the age of 2, she had not said her own name. Her parents, Scarlotte and Allen Kilgore of Mountain Brook, were expecting...
Tommie Carlson is moved to tears when she recounts the details of the day her son Jordan Wyatt was diagnosed at 3 months old with biliary atresia, a serious liver disorder in which the bile ducts that carry bile from the liver become blocked. “The doctor told me the statistics, that a very high percentage of infants – around 70 percent – who are diagnosed with biliary atresia will need a transplant by the time they are two,” she says. It was devastating news to the new mother, who was also...
Think about the feelings you have when you are on a rollercoaster. Fear, excitement, nervousness – how your heart is in your throat and how your stomach turns. Then imagine being two years old and feeling that way all the time. That is how Children’s of Alabama nephrologist Frank Tenney describes what Joseph Pickett of Montgomery was experiencing when doctors at Children’s first diagnosed his extremely high blood pressure in August of 2013. Joseph was at Children’s for an unrelated...
When Joshua was 2 months old I discovered a knot on his arm after a bath. I took him to the pediatrician and he was not overly concerned but did send us on to have a surgeon take a look at it. The surgeon thought it was nothing and could not really tell from the ultrasound that they did so he thought it would be best to just remove it to be on the safe side. He told us there was a 1-3% chance of it being anything concerning. When Joshua was 3 months old he had surgery to remove the knot and a...
Joshua was born a healthy little boy. When he was 2 months old I noticed a lump on his arm. Our pediatrician sent us to a surgeon to possibly have it removed. At 3 months it was removed and 3 days later we learned that he had neuroblastoma. After several scans and tests it was found that Joshua had a primary neuroblastoma tumor in his abdomen on top of his adrenal gland. He was diagnosed with stage 4s neuroblastoma because it had spread from the original site and he was under age 1. Thankfully...
By Cathy Hopkins My son, Joshua, was born on January 8, 2007 after a normal pregnancy with several ultrasounds. When he was born he immediately had trouble breathing and was very pale with a barrel-shaped chest. After he was rushed to the NICU at St. Vincent's and placed on a ventilator, the doctors discovered he was born with a Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia which means that his abdominal organs were up in his chest due to a hole in his diaphragm. He was immediately transported to...
Kim and Shaune Porter and their children, 5-year-old Joshua and 3-year-old Mei-anna, are among the International Adoption Clinic’s success stories. The Porters, who live in Northport, came to the IAC when they adopted 22-month-old Joshua, who was born with a cleft palate. “What we needed at that point was knowledge, but they gave me a lot more,” Mrs. Porter says. The staff helped arrange for Joshua to undergo corrective surgery and to begin speech and occupational therapy --- all through the...
Jozie Ward Woodfin has come a long way since June 29, 2016, when an accident left him severely burned and fighting for his life in the intensive care unit. His father, William D. Woodfin, III, won’t soon forget that day as Jozie was airlifted within an hour from his local hospital in Alabama’s Black Belt to Children’s of Alabama, where Jozie remained in intensive care for three weeks before being transferred to Children’s Burn Center. Each year, more than 170 children from Alabama and...
One cold Saturday morning I woke up in my bed at home and immediately started screaming at the top of my lungs. As my family ran into my room, fearful of what could be going on, the last thing they expected was to find me in the state that I was in. I was 15 years old and completely immobile. A few weeks before, I had repeatedly felt exhausted and unlike myself, but waking up that morning and not even being able to lift my fingers was a type of pain I never thought I would have to deal with....
At just 4 years old, Julie Grace Carroll of Pell City has gathered an army of supporters. Julie’s Army of Hope is the name Julie’s parents, David and Melanie, have coined for the family, friends and community members who have rallied after learning of Julie’s diagnosis with Rett syndrome, a neurodevelopmental disorder that causes problems in brain function, especially those responsible for cognitive, sensory, emotional, motor and autonomic functions. Julie Grace and her twin sister, Jerri Noel,...
My son Justin was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when he was 8 years old (2005). He had a large lump on his neck. We brought him to our family doctor and he thought Justin just had swollen glands from a sore throat since he had no other symptoms. This went on for about three months. When the lump didn’t go away he sent us to a pediatrician about an hour away from where we live. They did blood tests and diagnosed him with chronic anemia because his blood counts were low. We went back to the...
Imagine having a 7-year-old son with epilepsy – a son who for two years has been experiencing up to 40 seizures each day. School is virtually impossible. The wood and metal desks are dangerous; the block walls in the cafeteria are dangerous. Everything around him becomes a danger when he has a seizure. At home, it is just as bad. This child, who had been a lively, healthy little boy who lived to play baseball, cannot be left alone for a moment – not even for as long as it takes to unload the...
When Kaileb McIntyre was born nearly 14 weeks before his due date in April, 2012, his doctors expected that he would face many of the problems typical for premature babies. “He weighed only 2 lbs. 2 oz. and he had a lot of complications that came along with him being so small, so he had a tough time starting from when he was born,” said his mother, Khalena McIntyre. A routine scan to monitor Kaileb’s development revealed a suspicious area in his brain. Further testing indicated that he had a...
Two years ago my husband and I found out we were going to have our third child. I had gone for a routine check-up at my doctor's office. After an unusually long ultrasound I was waiting in the exam room for my doctor to come in. When he came in he told me that the ultrasound had showed that my baby had too much fluid on her brain. I was shocked, and upset to say the least. I was sent to Birmingham to the Kirklin Clinic where the doctor there said the same thing. I had to continue seeing both my...
Kailyn's mom, Courtney, found a small ridge on the back of her daughter’s skull and asked her pediatrician about it at Kailyn's two week check up. The doctors told her it was nothing to worry about. Finally, at Kailyn's four month visit, the doctor told Courtney if she would feel better he would refer her to Children's Hospital. He said that it could possibly be craniosynostosis, but it was probably just from lying her on her back too often. When Kailyn was four months old, she made her first...
Christy Creasy knew something was amiss when her daughter, Kaitlyn, began experiencing sinus problems and severe headaches. However, multiple doctor’s visits revealed nothing. “They kept saying it should go away by taking sinus medication,” Christy said. “Then when it didn’t, they said it was migraines that should go away. But it never did.” Kaitlyn’s symptoms worsened. She grew lethargic, lost her appetite and lost weight. When Christy took Kaitlyn to the pediatrician for the fifth time,...
On March 17, 2005 my daughter Katie was admitted to Flowers Hospital in Dothan, Alabama. For two weeks prior to this Katie had been treated for what was believed to be a bladder infection. Katie had been having severe back pain and on this day she had become dehydrated and could not walk. An MRI and a CT scan was ran and it was determined that she had a pocket around her L3 vertebrae. This was believed to be a tumor, possibly cancer. Dr. Benak immediately transferred Katie to Children's...
Miracle Child By Michelle Hurter Kaitlyn (2 lbs at birth) and her brother Grayson were born on May 26, 2006 at 26 weeks gestation. At five days old Kaitlyn was diagnosed with NEC and rushed from UAB NICU to Children's Hospital in Birmingham, AL. The staff was wonderful, especially one of our nurses Kristin Kozub at Children's and Kelli Gray at UAB. Kaitlyn was later diagnosed with ROP Stage III. She went through a total of three bouts with NEC, which included two emergency surgeries. She also...
I am from Southeast Alabama, and was sent to UAB to deliver my baby that was coming two months early. I had her at UAB, and she was taken over to Children's Hospital soon after. My daughter was born the day I turned 7 months. She weighed 3 lbs. 1 oz. She actually dropped down to 2 lbs. 14 oz. I had to leave her at Children's Hospital and go home to Dothan, which is where I was living at the time. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do. When I was able to come back to visit her, I learned...
As a seven year old child I was transferred to Children's Hospital after experiencing weeks of painful stomach cramps in the summer of 1989. The local hospital in my town could not determine the source of my discomfort. However, the staff at Children's immediately found the source of my pain and planned for surgery. A few days after admittance, Dr. Crane removed my gallbladder after several gallstones were found. I remember worrying relentlessly about the pain that I would endure after the...
Margaret Wheeler received a good Christmas present in 1962 -- her 4 month old daughter, Karen, came home from a week-long stay at Children’s Hospital. While visiting family in Birmingham for Christmas, Margaret noticed Karen was running a fever. Since they were away from Karen’s normal pediatrician in their home state of Florida, Margaret took her to a pediatrician in Birmingham. The pediatrician gave her medicine, but it didn’t help. The fever continued to climb. When Margaret called the...
Karlie Gill enjoys playing with friends and preparing for gymnastics meets, but it wasn’t long ago that she faced a different battle – one that required great resiliency and strength. At age 3, Karlie began having stomach pain. Her parents, Jason and Kacey Gill, initially thought it was a stomach bug, but the pain continued to persist. “We went to the pediatrician and even he thought it was just a bug,” Kacey said. “He recommended that she be admitted to the hospital just to get some fluids,...
Katelyn was a happy little girl, she loved running and playing with her siblings until Katelyn started to have severe pains in her joints, and she was very anemic and had no energy. Sometimes she would be in so much pain her mommy would have to help her get dressed and carry her around. Her parents were referred to childrens Hospital of Birmingham, September 11th 2008 was the day that changed the Sassin family's lives, the day Katelyn was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Katie is...
Kathryn was born on June 8, 2007, at UAB at 32 weeks. We were transferred to Children’s on August 9, 2007. Katy had exposed brain at the back of her head, a cleft pallet and many other anomalies. Her first surgery was preformed in August of 2007 to remove the brain matter. She was trached at two months of age, and when she was 22 months old, Dr. Hill preformed a surgery where he took part of her rib to repair her larynx and trachea. Katy has had many surgeries, MRIs and CTs. After a long stay...
When I was 14 years old I was in the hospital in Dothan, Alabama for a very long time. I had extremely high blood pressure, and the doctors couldn’t figure out why. It got so bad that my mom finally called Birmingham. She spoke to a nurse up there and she told my mom to take me to Birmingham immediately. When we got up there they scheduled me for a kidney biopsy and in less than 24 hours they knew I had a kidney disease. To this day they still aren't sure exactly what it was, but they told us,...
Katie Von Hagel is a 16-year-old high schooler living with cystic fibrosis (CF), a genetic disorder that causes a thick mucus buildup in the lungs and other organs. The diagnosis hasn’t stopped her from cheering for her beloved Gardendale High School Rockets or making the A-B roll. Nor has it stopped her from passing her driver’s license test or dreaming of admission to Auburn University to study nursing or physical therapy. Katie was only 2 years old at the time of her diagnosis. When she...
Heather Dean didn’t worry too much last winter when the junior high school sent a letter home informing her that a routine screening at the school showed her daughter Katlyn may have scoliosis and needed to see a doctor. Their doctor referred them to Children’s of Alabama, where they got their first dose of reality. At first, Heather and Katlyn assumed she would need to wear a brace for a few years and then everything would be fine. But the doctor said the curvature of her spine was so great...
Submitted by Julie Renee King On June 23, 2004, I was scheduled to have my little girl. She was due the day before. I had no idea that my precious angel was in so much trouble. After an emergency delivery Kaydee Renee King was rushed to the nursery for Dr. Buie to examine her and tell us the news. She had congenital CMV. She had red spots all over her body, an enlarged liver and spleen, her head size was smaller than normal and her blood would not clot. Dr. Buie stabilized her and called UAB...
This is Kaylee Selfridge at 9 years old. At birth she was perfect. At 8 weeks old, she gave us a real scare. She turned blue one evening at home, we rushed to the ER in Montgomery, and they told us she had croup. After a couple days in the hospital with steroids, her breathing became normal. The medications began to wear off after a week and she began having difficulty breathing again. We went to the pediatrician where they did x-rays and could not find anything, so more steroids. This...
Imagine walking down the halls of a hospital and a doctor stops you and says, "Your baby is not dying right now but he is probably going to." Those exact words became reality as my mom walked down the halls of St. Vincent's 22 years ago. After birth, I caught this deadly infection in the blood called sepsis. I only had a 7% chance to live and with any shot at life I would have to be put on this machine called ECMO. ECMO is a heart and lung bypass machine that takes the blood out of your body,...
Keionha Brown has been a Child of Children’s Hospital since she was two months old. Her mother, Candy, will never forget what it felt like that day in the car. Little Keionha began to vomit – not just spit up like babies do – and then her eyes rolled back and her tiny body went limp. Candy was terrified. Candy immediately took her baby to a local hospital, which said it was just acid reflux, but offered to send the family to Children’s for a second opinion “if that would make us feel better.”...
On May 1976, at 21 months old Kelly was at an apartment nursery and fell into the pool and began to drown. Her parents Sandy and Frank remember it as if it were yesterday. Frank Stewart, Kelly’s father, was a volunteer fireman and happened to be home the day Kelly fell into the pool. He immediately started emergency first aid on his daughter. A local doctor was on hand as well to help Frank with his daughter. It was never determined how long she was under water but she was dark blue, Frank...
On Christmas day, 1995 my daughter Kelsey, at the age of 16 months, had the first of many seizures, with no warning whatsoever. Over the next several years, we went through a number of tests and in the end were the first client to undergo surgery for Epilepsy at Children's Hospital in Birmingham. It took a couple of procedures to finally remove excessive tissue, but thanks to what we think are the greatest physicians and nurses in the world, Kelsey has been seizure free for almost a year now....
When I was born I was diagnosed with extrophy of the bladder. Dr. Joseph treated me from day one. Now I am a healthy 13 year old girl. He is awesome. Without him I don't know what my life would be like today but he always knew what to do and when to do it. They were a blessing to me and my family. Love, Kelsey
You see it on TV all the time, says Krystal Hayes, maybe in a commercial or a primetime medical drama: A family reeling from a child’s serious diagnosis, uncertain of what the future holds. You never think it could happen to you. Then it does. It was like whirlwind, Krystal recalls. The instant doctors at Children’s of Alabama diagnosed her 4-month-old daughter, Kelsey, with a congenital heart defect known as Anomalous Left Coronary Artery from the Pulmonary Artery, or ALCAPA, the care team...
As a varsity cheerleader and a member of a competitive cheerleading squad, Kelsey Hunnicutt, a 17-year-old senior at Brookwood High School, was accustomed to the bruises and minor injuries that go along with the sport. When her knee began to hurt after a fall, Kelsey and her parents saw no reason for real concern. “We gave it a few days and when it didn’t get better, we made an appointment to see our family doctor. I didn’t even go with her because we thought it was just a sprain,” said...
Kelsey was the first of twins born at 32 weeks at UAB Hospital in January 1993 and when she was born she had a Cleft Palate and a Club Foot. When she was six months old Dr. Howard did surgery on her to close her palate. Since then we have been seeing Dr. Howard at Children's twice a year until about two years ago and now we see him once a year and will until she turns 18. She has to go to the Cleft Palate Clinics and they check her hearing, speech, dental and other things pertaining to her...
It was supposed to be a day like any other as Kenan Jones prepared for summer football practice at his school. It was second nature, something he had done many times before. But as practice wound down, Kenan went into full cardiac arrest. “I got a phone call not long before the practice was over,” recalls Kenan’s mother, Felicia, who also works at Kenan’s school. “They told me Kenan had passed out. I thought he was just dehydrated or something like that, but when I got out there, I realized...
When Kendall Hogan of Hartford was six years old, her parents Judy and Jeff became concerned. She was tall for her age, was experiencing underarm odor unusual for a child her age and also had developed a dark ring around her neck. Her local physician performed a number of tests, but when he was unable to diagnose what was causing Kendall’s symptoms, he referred the Hogans to an endocrinologist at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham. When testing at Children’s was complete, they were told that...
Kennedy Vickery is a 4-year-old “girly-girl” who loves dolls, plays t-ball and flies through the air in gymnastics, and she does it all with her fierce “super foot.” And, top it all off, her baby brother thinks she’s the coolest big sister ever. In 2017, Kennedy suffered a degloving injury to her right foot in a lawn mower accident. Degloving occurs when the skin, fascia and perhaps muscle and bone are torn from the body. After an emergency trip to Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital (ECM) in...
She had open heart surgery at 4 months old. As she got older she wasn't gaining weight. A gastronomy tube was put in to feed her. Without Children’s Hospital, she would not be here today at age 25. Thank God for Children’s Hospital.
In July of 1999, my husband Philip and I went for what we thought was going to be a normal five month ultrasound. We found out we were going to have a girl, and then we got some shocking news. Our sweet baby girl (Kiersten- KK) would be born with a birth defect called an Omphalocele. An omphalocele is described as a herniation through the umbilical cord. With Kiersten, her umbilical cord did not close off allowing her liver and some intestines to herniate through the cord. This only happens in...
When I was four years old I started falling a lot. Then it got to where I could not get off of the floor by myself. My parents brought me to Children's Hospital. They ran tests and they found a tumor on my spine. My parents started a prayer chain. The next morning the doctor prepared to do surgery. He did one last X-ray and the tumor was gone. To me that is a miracle. This hospital meant a second chance at life for me and my family.
When Lanitra Johnson looks at her young son King Davis, she doesn’t see a sick child. She sees a happy baby who doesn’t let his illness hold him back. King was born nine weeks early on May 11, 2012 and weighed less than 4 pounds. He was placed in the neonatal intensive care unit until he was strong enough to go home, but a week later he was getting sicker and sicker and was sent to Children’s of Alabama. Doctors at Children’s discovered he had necrotizing enterocolitis, or NEC, a condition...
Kruz Davenport was destined to be strong. His mother Jessica knew he was a fighter from the moment he was born. In July 2013, Kruz arrived six weeks early. His umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck, and doctors revived him as soon as he was born. “From that very first day, he’s been placed with the right people at the right time,” Jessica said. It was Jessica’s turn to be strong when, around Kruz’s first birthday, she began to notice how sensitive her son was to light. What followed in...
One night when I was 4 years old my grandfather bought me some peanuts because I love peanuts. Shortly after, my stomach started hurting. My mom took me to the ER several times that night and they kept sending me home because they said it was gas. The next night she took me back because I was in pain still and another doctor was on and said that they had to get me to the Children's Hospital in Birmingham as soon as possible because I had gallstones. When I got to Children's Hospital sure enough...
When Kylie Spinks and twin sister Adlen were born 14 weeks early, it was the start of a 16-plus year journey for Kylie, who was born with cerebral palsy, intussusception, hydrocephalus and cortical vision impairment. Just days after birth, Kylie began experiencing brain bleeds, but recovered and was discharged home after spending 95 days in her local hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit. “We quickly got her doing physical, occupational and speech therapies, so she really overcame a lot,”...
Hearts are full at Children’s of Alabama because Kylin Harris’ heart is well. Inside a hospital conference room in June 2018, the banner was hung, the tablecloth was draped and the cake was cut in celebration of Kylin, the first-ever patient at Children’s to be successfully weaned from a pediatric ventricular assist device without the need for a heart transplant. The 1-year-old guest of honor arrived in what is by far Children’s most popular mode of transportation – a red Radio Flyer wagon – a...
June, 2007. School was out and summer fun had just begun when 15-year-old Lance Cook fell ill. First diagnosed with a sinus infection, Lance grew sicker and sicker. Within days, the big, strong, healthy Ashford High School student lost control of his lower body and the ability to walk. His parents took him to the emergency room of the local hospital, where physicians immediately prepared him for transport to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham. Children’s neurologist Dr. Jayne Ness diagnosed...
My son Landon Tyler Boothe was born on June 27, 2007, at UAB Hospital. He was taken by C-section at 39 weeks due to several birth defects that we knew that he had. The doctors told me at 21 weeks after an amnio that he had less than a 10 percent chance of survival after birth, and gave me the option to abort. Of course I refused and put it in God's hands. He was born with an Omphalocele, which exposed his liver and intestines, a diaphragmatic hernia, and multiple heart defects that were called...
One-year-old Landon Wilson is a happy, alert and playful boy. He says “bye, bye,” loves to play patty-cake and melts hearts with his contagious laugh. But behind the big smiles and energetic spirit is a fierce will to live. When Lasheka Pulliam was pregnant with Landon, she and his father, Allan Wilson, received a prenatal diagnosis that their son had a bladder outlet obstruction – a blockage that reduces or stops the flow of urine into the urethra, which carries urine from the body. Lasheka...
Thirteen- year- old Lane Clark had a typical childhood. A fun-loving, active kid, he kept the Clark family on the go as a three sport athlete from Jasper. But everything changed two days before Lane’s 14th birthday. Lane had been experiencing what his mother thought was a sinus infection and shortness of breath. He ended up in the Emergency Department of Children’s of Alabama and quickly learned that he had a mass in his chest. Lane was admitted to the hospital and an oncologist was called in....
Lane's Story By Lane's Mom In late July of 2008 our family had just begun our vacation in Texas. One day after arriving Lane, my 9 year old, started complaining of a really bad headache and soon started throwing up. This lasted the entire time we were in Texas, and I thought he had gotten hold of a really bad stomach virus. After we got back home, he was still complaining of a headache so I took him to his pediatrician. They said it was probably just left over from the stomach virus. After a...
Laney Light has been a fighter since day one. While still in her mother’s womb, Laney was diagnosed with what was thought to be a double-outlet right ventricle with ventricular septal defect, a rare congenital heart condition. Laney’s mother, LeAnn Light, was referred to a maternal fetal medicine specialist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where doctors determined Laney actually suffered from hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a congenital defect that affects normal blood flow through...
Seven-year-old Latricia Fontaine and mother Christina Henderson have their routine down pat. Once a month, the pair travel from their home in Gadsden to Children’s of Alabama, where Latricia receives a blood transfusion to treat her sickle cell disease. Latricia was terrified of the needles and tubes at first, but now she doesn’t even flinch. In fact, she has become her nurses’ trusted assistant. “She says she wants to work at Children’s when she grows up. She wants to be a nurse,”...
Sometimes one unexpected event can lead to a series of surprises. That was the case for then 9-year-old Lauren DeMarco, who was thrilled to see snow for the first time in her hometown of Mobile. But nature’s surprise came with an unforeseen twist. “When I walked outside my hands turned bright purple,” said Lauren, now 16. “They started hurting and went numb. I didn’t know what was going on or what to do.” Lauren’s hands remained blue for three days. A visit to the pediatrician ended with a...
On March 9, 2009 I was cooking my 4 year old triplets their favorite lunch of spaghetti while they were running around playing. My daughter asked for candy and I told her, "No, Mommy is making lunch it will be ready in a minute." I put the spaghetti on top of the microwave and turned to finish the dishes when I heard a chair sliding back. She had pulled a chair to the counter and climbed up to reach for candy. I told her to get down and as she was climbing down, she somehow slipped and grabbed...
My parents were young University of Alabama students in 1970 when they noticed that I was beginning to have trouble standing on my own. I was only two years old and my parents took me to different specialists and got different diagnosis before finally getting to Birmingham Children’s Hospital. I’ve had to piece the experiences together from stories over the years and reading my medical records. There are no pictures or videos only a long scar and a few early memories of walking up the steps to...
On New Year's Eve 2004 our baby girl, Lenzie, woke up and couldn't do anything. She was limp and her little body was shaking. She couldn't sit up, crawl, stand, walk or talk—all things that she once could do. Lenzie was a healthy one year old little girl until New Year's Eve. My husband and I rushed Lenzie to the local ER that morning. They called in a Pediatric Neurologist to examine Lenzie. They also performed a CT scan and gave her fluids through an IV. The Neurologist diagnosed Lenzie with...
Had to Have Special CT Scans By Leslie Mitchell I was born on 3-19-1980 and in July of the same year my local pediatrician told my parents that they thought I had a bigger head than the rest of the babies. That is when they sent me and my parents to Children's hospital in Birmingham Alabama to have all the CT scans and tests done. The result was that I was a normal baby and my head was fine. I was then sent back home to have a happy and healthy life. Children’s means a lot to me. I have had...
My grandson, Levi was diagnosed with cancer, neuroblastoma February 2, 2002 in stage 4. He was given chemo to shrink the tumor, then he had surgery to remove the tumor, then a stem cell transplant and radiation on his lungs; (the cancer was in his lungs, not in his bone marrow as all other children's have been). No cancer could be found in May 2003 but he relapsed in August 2003. Chemo was started again then Dr. Eric Gratias referred him to Sloan-Kettering in New York for 3F8 treatment. There...
On a normal day in March little did I know that a Mom's worst nightmare would come true. My daughter Lexy a 2 year old is going about her normal day, playing, running and laughing when she falls on a play toy that she and her sister is playing with. When Lexy fell, little did we know that all our lives were about to change. When Lexy fell she immediately started crying as a 2 year old would, but all of a sudden she passed out and began vomiting at the same time. Her father and I freaked out and...
Libby Hankins’ spirit has outlived the breath in their lungs. Her memory and impact live on in those who “choose strength” every day. Libby was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) at the age of 2 in her hometown of Gordo, Alabama. She and her parents, Susan Hankins Estes and Scott Hankins, were referred to Children’s of Alabama, where they had a three-day education admission to learn about CF and how to administer her care at home, including aiding in food digestion, aerosol treatments and...
If the big brown eyes don’t melt your heart, then the sweet, bright smile certainly will. Those are the first things you notice about Lilianna Thompson, a walking, talking, giggling miracle. Lilianna was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, or AML, in August 2011, just after she turned 2 in May. While on a family trip to the beach, the toddler became ill with symptoms that mimicked a strep infection. Her parents, Randy and Anna, cut their trip short and Anna took Lilianna to her regular...
Crystal McCord of Dothan is all too familiar with kidney and urinary tract problems. Her father, now in renal failure, spends days each week on kidney dialysis. As a child, Crystal herself suffered from frequent urinary tract problems. But after the birth of their first daughter, Lilly-Rose, Crystal and her husband, Barry, breathed a sigh of relief. Their newborn appeared to be completely healthy. Then, just days before her first birthday in May 2006, Lilly spiked a fever of 106 degrees....
On June 11th 2010, our daughter was pulled up from the bottom of a swimming pool. She had no signs of life and CPR was immediately started on her and 911 was called. An ambulance transported her to our local hospital where she was placed on a ventilator. We were told her condition was critical and she would need to be transported by life flight to Children's Hospital. We were so scared, but knew without a doubt that she would be in great hands. We absolutely knew that if she even had a small...
Lily was born on Jan. 4, 2013. During her newborn screening in the well-baby nursery, it was discovered that she had a murmur. The doctors felt it was normal, caused by the hole that all babies are born with, called a PDA. To be safe, an ultrasound of her heart was performed. It was discovered that she had a much larger hole in her heart, as well as other problems. The results were sent to Birmingham, Ala. to be read by a Pediatric Cardiologist. In the meantime she was moved to the NICU where...
I turned 3 years old in 1954. My birthday is June 2, 1951. In early November of 1954 my parents went to visit a neighbor whose young son had polio. Early the next week I got sick. I don't remember anything until the day I was diagnosed. My dad and mom had taken me to a small town doctor, Dr. Edwin Carpenter in Courtland, Alabama. He called ahead to Decatur Hospital and told them that dad was on his way with me. I know that dad and mom said the doctors in Decatur were busy and told them that I...
Hi, I'm Lindsey Jones. I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer (rhabdomyosarcoma) one month before my fourth birthday. I started dropping things on the floor and couldn't see to pick them up. At first my parents took me to a local doctor but he said that there was nothing wrong. Within the week, I became much worse. My parents rushed me to Children's Hospital. They said that there was something wrong inside my head and admitted me to Children's. The next morning I woke up and said "mom turn...
Twenty-one-year-old Lindsey Jones of Gurley, Alabama, will be a senior when she returns to the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH) in fall 2017. She is a psychology major and music minor, a mainstay on the Dean’s List and was recently inducted into the Psi Chi International Honor Society in Psychology. She’s also a member of the UAH Concert Choir and Kappa Delta Sorority, and founder of the inaugural Miracle Network Dance Marathon at UAH. The Dance Marathon, benefitting Children’s...
"Thankful" For a while now I have been noticing billboards and articles about being a "Child of Children's" and every time I do I think, "I'm one of them". My name is Lisa Willis Slusher and I am a very thankful Child of Children's. I am first of all thankful for all the great care that was given to me by the staff of Children's Hospital. I can remember actually crying as my family and I pulled away after my final stay at Children's. I cried because the nurses and staff had become like family...
Melena Wheeler had a normal pregnancy and birth with her daughter, Livie, so it came as a shock when Livie suddenly began having health problems. “Out of nowhere, she started grunting and walking differently. I thought she maybe had a hint of autism,” Melena said. “But that was far from what it really was.” Melena took Livie to see her pediatrician, who sent the then 21-month-old for a chest X-ray. The next morning, Melena received the call she dreaded – something was definitely wrong with...
Livvy Williams is a confident 5-year-old diagnosed with cortical dysplasia, a condition in which the top layer of the brain does not form properly. Cortical dysplasia is one of the most common causes of epilepsy and often does not respond well to medication. Livvy was 16 months old when she had her first seizure. “We were at the park playing when I noticed something different about her,” said Livvy’s mother, Stormy. “Livvy was like any other toddler who would fall when she walks, but this was...
Lloyd Finks Story By Helga Finks Slipped Femoral Epiphysis My son Lloyd Finks now a physician in Memphis, Tennessee was a patient of Dr. Kurt Niemann at age 14 and 15 years old. He had surgery on both hips in 1970 and 1971. He was diagnosed with Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis. Only two surgeons in the country at the time were able to do such surgery. We commuted back and forth from Montgomery to Birmingham daily –this was before I-65 was built. If you would like more information please...
Thirteen-year-old Lofton Crouse and his family love to fish. They also love Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham, so it was a natural fit for the Orange Beach teen who was the face of the Reel Hope Classic fishing tournament benefitting patients at the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s. Nearly five years ago, Lofton was one of those patients undergoing treatment at Children’s for a malignant tumor. When he was just 5 years old, Lofton was diagnosed with...
Candice McCool and husband James knew that her pregnancy with daughter Logan was considered high risk, but they weren’t expecting an ultrasound at week 17 to reveal a problem, much less a serious diagnosis. During the anatomy scan, her doctor noticed that Logan’s head was a little abnormally shaped. Further tests revealed it was spina bifida. “Not only was she diagnosed with spina bifida, but she had the most severe form, myelomeningocele, which meant her back was completely open and nerves...
Logan was born at thirty weeks gestation on October 7th, 1998, which is ten weeks early. He was born at St. Vincents in Birmingham. When he was delivered it was very difficult. The doctor had a strange look on his face. I was terrified. The neonatologist came in shortly after I had delivered Logan and told us some terrifying news. He told us that Logan did not have a soft spot and that all of his sutures were prematurly fused. Logan had been diagnosed with Craniosynostosis. We had never heard...
It’s not often cancer is considered a positive experience. For cancer survivors Hannah Acton and Logan Whitehead, their respective journeys led to a joyful engagement and plans for a future filled with happiness. At age 2 and a half, Hannah was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a cancer that affects the white blood cells. “It all started with a severe cold,” Hannah said. “My brother and I both had colds, and while he was getting better after a couple of days, I...
We knew something was wrong with Lola's head very soon after she was born. In fact, my husband Jeff said he noticed in the hospital that it appeared to be kind of lopsided. But figuring most newborns have funny-looking heads, he just brushed it off. However, a couple of weeks later I noticed her forehead appeared to be flat on one side. I mentioned it to Jeff, who said he'd noticed it too. We figured it was likely caused by the fact we'd been letting Lola sleep on her stomach and believed it...
Our youngest daughter Lola's cranial surgery has been scheduled for May 9, 2009, at Children's Hospital in Birmingham. According to the doctors, we should be in the hospital five days, the first of which will be in ICU. Lola has unicoronal craniosynostosis, which means one of her coronal sutures (these run from ear to ear) in her skull has fused early. Surgery is required to correct this and prevent her skull from becoming even more mis-shapen, keep her mid-face from twisting and allow her...
Lukas was diagnosed in September of 2005. He was almost two when he got sick. Lukas' last treatment is December 2008. It has been a long three years, but god has blessed us with Children’s Hospital. The chemo never made him very sick. Overall we were very luck. Children’s Hospital is the best hospital in Alabama. The care and compassion the staff gives to their patients and families means more than words can describe during such a difficult time.
Luke was born on March 6, 2003. Our story began three days later as we were preparing to pack and go home. The doctor came in and said, “I think it is best if we keep Luke for further testing.” We were told then, when Luke was three days old, that they thought Luke had Hirschsprungs disease (HD), which is a disease of the colon. I had never heard of this disease. The first biopsy they did came back inconclusive. We continued these biopsies for the next two years, and the results remained the...
Luke Gragg’s diagnosis of kidney disease was made even before he was born. Just 20 weeks into Megan Gragg’s pregnancy, a routine ultrasound revealed that Luke had a bladder outlet obstruction which prevented him from releasing the urine needed to maintain the proper level of amniotic fluid surrounding him. A week later, doctors performed in-utero surgery to insert a shunt that would allow the urine to drain from his bladder. The shunt worked for several weeks before Luke’s kidneys stopped...
Luke started his hearing journey at 2 1/2 at the Children's HEAR Center. His weekly speech therapy sessions took him from being unable to communicate to an unstoppable chatterbox. At age 5 when his journey took a detour and his hearing dramatically worsened, it was the staff at the HEAR. Center that provided support and guidance to put the journey back on track. We met Dr. Wooley whose skilled hands restored Luke's ability to hear with a cochlear implant. Today Luke is a healthy happy 10-year...
Luther Strage's Story By Luther Strange At the age of 12, while riding my bike in my Homewood neighborhood, I was hit by a car. I had placed baseball cards in the spokes to make the bike sound like a motorcycle and wasn't paying attention as I rounded a curve and crossed an intersection into the path of a car. The next thing I remember was landing about 40 feet down the road and looking up at a neighbor who'd been mowing his grass nearby. Fortunately, he was a Scoutmaster and was able to...
Will and Kristee Dowling thought their daughter, Lydia, was sick with a common cold, but when Lydia began losing weight and complaining of extreme thirst, the Dowlings knew something was off. “We did our research and we realized she had the textbook symptoms of diabetes,” Kristee said. “We knew that had to be it, so we went to the pediatrician and asked for her to be tested.” A blood test confirmed what the Dowlings suspected – Lydia had type 1 diabetes. The then 2-year-old was sent to her...
Twenty-four years ago, when I was 13 years old, I had a bilateral bunionectomy surgery on my feet at Children's of Alabama. Although the surgery was minor, uneventful, and after six weeks I was walking on my own without crutches, it impacted my life in ways I never would have dreamed. The care I received at Children's solidified my decision to become a nurse. A few years later, I moved from Montgomery to Birmingham to attend Samford University's Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing. While at...
By Lynn Johnson Hill and O'Day Wilson I had gotten really sick and my doctor, Dr. Primm, sent me to Children's when I was 13 months old. I am now 41. They found out I had diabetes. They got me on the insulin I needed. We were there for 10 days and all the doctors and nurses were great. I have lived a normal life since then. I have two daughters, 16 and 19, and one granddaughter, nine months. I have now been on dialysis for almost three years. Its rough but you have to do what you have to do....
Mackenzie Diveley was born with a badly broken heart. Her mother knew it was going to happen. A sonogram taken when Jessica Diveley was five months pregnant showed that Mackenzie’s heart was forming improperly. The condition is called hypoplastic left heart syndrome, something Jessica and her husband, Heath, knew little or nothing about until doctors in Decatur described it with drawings and a tone of serious concern. The syndrome occurs when the left side of the heart fails to develop...
At Camp BRIDGES, a Lake Martin retreat for children who have had or are in need of an organ transplant, Charline Whyte received a standing ovation. “I was very humbled,” said the 33-year-old organ donor. Charline had accompanied Mackenzie Jackson, her young kidney recipient, to the camp. It was a miracle in the eyes of Jason and Valerie Jackson, who had watched their 2 1/2-year-old daughter become gravely ill from congenital nephritic syndrome since she was diagnosed with the disorder at two...
When Madelyn Flora of Fort Payne, Alabama, was born in May 2012, she seemed healthy, and the difficulties of those first few weeks – fussiness, sleeplessness, no weight gain -- were thought to be normal for a newborn. Soon, however, her parents, Holly Jo and Alex, would learn that those symptoms foretold a serious diagnosis: cystic fibrosis. As the baby failed to grow and her health began to decline, the Floras were referred to Children’s of Alabama where testing confirmed that Madelyn had...
After a long battle with the flu, Madison McIntyre’s symptoms never ceased. She was lethargic, feverish and dehydrated. Perhaps Madison was taking a little longer to recover, her mother, Michelle, thought. Erring on the side of caution, Michelle and Madison visited the Emergency Department at Children’s of Alabama. “Shortly after we arrived, she had some bloodwork done,” Michelle said. “After what seemed like hours, they came to share the results and let us know it was much more serious than a...
Sometimes, one moment can change everything. For the Motley family, that happened on March 2, 2017, when Bill and Crystal’s oldest daughter, Madison, tried to end her life. “Looking back on it, there were so many signs we just didn’t see,” Crystal said. “We never realized it until it was almost too late.” Shortly before her suicide attempt, Madison left a verbally abusive relationship, though the abuse wasn’t over. “They had been broken up for about a month, but he was still calling her and...
Madyson was first at Children's in May 2006 to have a g-tube placed by Dr. Georgeson. She was transferred from the NICU at Baptist South in Montgomery. It was a scary situation, but the staff made it easier to deal with through their support. We were finally able to take our little girl home on May 23, 2006. We returned to Children's in Sept 2006 because Madyson's tempature had risen to a dangerous 108 degrees. She was in the PICU this time, and the staff was just as friendly and supportive as...
Before Chris and Leigh Ann Hillman adopted their two children, Maggie and Miles, they knew Children’s of Alabama would play an important role in their lives. In fact, they met with doctors at Children’s Adoption Clinic and Cleft and Craniofacial Center well before the children came home. Maggie and Miles, both born in China, would need multiple surgeries – Maggie for a cleft lip and palate and ear tube placement, and Miles for a cleft palate and ear tube placement. Other procedures popped up...
As residents of the Birmingham suburb of Vestavia Hills, Jennifer and Blaine House were familiar with Children’s of Alabama and its mission of caring for kids. Blaine had even volunteered for more than a decade with the Annual Pig Iron BBQ Challenge, which benefits Children’s Harbor Family Center. But three years ago, when their oldest daughter, Maisie, was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia – an often life-threatening disorder that annually affects just two to six people per million –...
In October 2005, my daughter and her cousin bumped heads, this caused my daughter to have a slight concussion. My daughter became dehydrated and began having crisis. The night after she was admitted into the hospital, her eyes crossed and the doctor could not figure out what was wrong so he sent her to Children's Hospital. During her stay, she had a pherisis, different labs, an MRI, X-rays, and different tests ran. We found out that she has a narrowed blood vessel in her brain and she will have...
Submitted by Beth Hall Our daughter was almost 14 months old when she developed a cough that worsened at night. She was taken to a local physician then to Southeastern Pediatrics in Dothan. After a five day stay in a hospital we returned home but the cough worsened with Randi coughing and choking while up on her knees and elbows in her baby bed. My father contacted Dr. Bill Benton, a high school friend and Children's physician, who instructed us to bring Randi to Birmingham. We made the trip...
Marie was 5 years old when she began getting sick. She got her 5 year old booster shots and everything started to go wrong. She was tired and couldn't stay awake for long. She started to bruise and stayed sick. We went to the doctor several times and nobody knew what was wrong. This went on until August 7th. She started kindergarten and would come home and pass out for the night until morning. Then on August 24th, she woke up and had a bad cough and couldn't breathe. We took her to the ER and...
By The Grace of God By Janie M. Martin On April 5, 2008, my daughter gave birth to my beautiful grandson Martez D. Ligon. Within hours of his birth the nurses at Jackson Hospital in Montgomery, Alabama noticed immediately there was something seriously wrong. Little Martez did not have a bowel movement. Food was going in, but nothing was coming out. He was constantly feeding, but his bowel was not working. I think what was most frightening was that his stomach was rising, as if someone was...
Mary Evelyn Butler was born on June 16, 2007 and is fourteen months old now. She is a good-natured, happy baby. She has brought us so much joy. When she was eight months old we noticed a large growth forming under the skin on her back. Mary Evelyn endured a series of tests before the doctors finally diagnosed her as having Infantile Fibromatosis. It is a benign tumor that has infected the latissimus dorsi muscle on her back. It is growing and the doctors want to stop the progression and...
Most teens enjoy beach trips, outdoor activities and sleeping late during summer break, but for Mary Kathryn Fletcher, a 14 year old of Oak Mountain High School, the summer before she entered high school was memorable in a much different way. Her summer held an experience that many of her classmates will not deal with for years to come. In early July 2007 Mary Kathryn, “MK” to her family, developed symptoms her parents thought was mononucleosis. Upon seeing her normal family physician MK tested...
On the surface, Huntsville native Mary Kathryn Lawrence is like any other teen. She enjoys social events, and in high school, she was a Diamond Doll for the baseball team, a member of the swim team and even worked as a lifeguard. Now, like other 19 year olds, she’s learning how to navigate college life. Mary Kathryn also has another focus – living with neurofibromatosis (NF). When Mary Kathryn was a baby, doctors suspected she had NF, a genetic disorder that causes tumors to form on nerve...
On May 3, 2007 our little girl Mary Lauren was brought to Children’s for evaluation. She was born with a rare condition called tracheal webbing. The day she was transferred she had a severe pulmonary hemorrhage and almost died. Thanks to the skill of the doctors and nurses in the NICU, Mary Lauren is now a happy one year old. The doctors and nurses were so caring and compassionate not only to our little girl but also to my husband and me. Everyday they took time to check on us and give us...
Miracles happen every day. For Will and Ashley Clarke, they see a miracle every time they look at their daughter, Mary Myers. After Mary Myers experienced two cardiac arrests, doctors weren’t sure she would make it. In fact, her family was told to prepare for the worst. “Her surgeon told me that they have never seen anyone as sick as her recover,” Ashley said. “From a medical standpoint, she shouldn’t be here.” It was initially thought Mary Myers wasn’t eating enough, so her pediatrician...
Mason had a rough start to begin with. He was born 9 weeks early. We were so excited when we finally got to take him home. However, two weeks later he became very ill. After doctors admitted him they let us know he would be in the best hands at Children's Hospital in Birmingham. At a month old, he took his first ride in a plane, and us on the ride of our lives. The doctors were very sincere and upfront about what we were up against. If it wasn't for Children's, Mason may not be here today. He...
Ask Matthew Downer to show you his senior ring with the big blue stone and a grin flashes across his face. The Fort Payne High School graduate was tapped for membership in the National Honor Society and the Spanish Honor Society, was named Citizen of the year by the local Kiwanis Club, worked at a local restaurant part-time, rebuilt the motor of his ’94 Chevy pickup in his spare time – and has battled brain cancer since 2009. The first signs of his illness -- vomiting and headaches -- were...
Eighteen-year-old Matthew Myers is a rising sophomore at Samford University in Birmingham majoring in pre-pharmacy. Why pre-pharmacy? He answers without hesitation. “My intention is to complete my residency in pediatric oncology and work at Children’s downtown,” he said. “To be able to do that would be a life-fulfilling dream.” Myers is quite familiar with Children’s of Alabama. At age 23 months, he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and spent 31 months in treatment under...
Meah and Carson Simpson bicker as siblings, but they’re each other’s cheerleader and protector through thick and thin. Meah, born in 2005 with sickle cell disease, is a gentle soul with a fighter’s spirit. At age 6 months, she developed pneumonia, which led to the first of many bouts of acute chest syndrome, a lung-related complication of sickle cell disease. When Meah was 2, she fell into an eight-day coma and developed pneumococcal sepsis – a contributor to increased morbidity and mortality...
Megan Smith was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia when she was just shy of her first birthday. The years since have brought unimaginable pain to the Northview High School junior honors student—pain so intense that the slender teenager was given morphine, Demerol and other strong drugs in doses high enough for a grown man twice her size. But the pain grew worse. Her only option for recovery was a bone marrow transplant. Megan endured two weeks of radiation and chemotherapy, with all their...
Around age 11 I began to have severe joint and back pain. My mom took me to my doctor who ordered a series of X-rays. The doctor who read the X-rays said he didn't see anything wrong and that I would most likely grow out of the pain. A year later the pain in my back was worse and my mom once again took me to my doctor and demanded that I be referred to someone other than our local physicians. He referred us to an orthopedist at Children's Hospital of Birmingham. We were told to bring in the...
Melissa Graham What should have been a joyous day for Melissa Graham’s family back in 1971 became a race to save her life. Melissa was only 24 hours old when doctors in the north Alabama hospital where she was born discovered that she had no esophagus. She couldn’t breathe or swallow properly. While her mother recovered from the delivery, Melissa’s father, aunt, uncle and grandmother whisked the newborn into the car and drove to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, making the trip in record...
I call it My Mother's story because I have no memories of what happened to me, other than what she told me. I grew up hearing her story about how the wonderful doctors and nurses at Children's saved me with the help of God. I was 18 months old and ran a 106 degree fever. The local hospital was unable to make a diagnosis, so after 4 days, my parents asked that I be released and they drove me to Children's. After 3 days there I was diagnosed and was receiving treatment for Rheumatic Fever. I was...
Miss Alabama Outstanding Teen participant Merrill Ann Culverhouse has been an advocate for Children’s of Alabama for years. It’s one of her passions. She’s worked to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) and was named a CMN Miracle Maker Award Winner just a couple of years ago for raising the most money for CMN. “I have such a strong passion and commitment to Children’s,” Merrill Ann says. “They do so much for so many children and so many families.” Merrill Ann is included on that...
In many ways, 15-year-old Micah Worley of Prattville is a typical teenager. He loves playing and watching sports—in particular, University of Alabama football and NBA Lakers basketball. But in the spring of 2011, something happened that would set Micah apart from his peers and sideline him from sports for 28 long months. On April 21, Micah became one of the 130 Alabama children who, each year, are newly diagnosed with cancer. Micah’s mother, April, remembers the day her son first showed...
Michael Florence Michael Florence was operated on when he was 16 months old. His bowel was coming back up out of his mouth. He was throwing up every thing he ate or drank. Michael was born April 3, 1986. His mother is Iola Florence. A report from his family physician stated: The medical evidence shows that Michael was hospitalized in May of 1986 because of a feeding intolerance. This intolerance had been resolved at discharge, in August 1986. He was admitted to Edge Memorial Hospital because...
Today, Children’s of Alabama cardiac intensivist Santiago Borasino, M.D., M.P.H., jokingly calls 3-year-old Michael Moretti “his little Alpaca.” But in early December of 2012, the mood of Michael’s doctors at Children’s was anything but jovial. The tests had come back, and pediatric cardiologist Edward Calvin, M.D., had just told Becky and Joe Moretti of Huntsville that their 5-month-old son had an extremely rare (1 in 300,000 children) congenital heart defect called an anomalous left...
When Michael was only 14 months old he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Of course, at that age he had no idea what was going on. There’s no doubt that it was life changing, not just for us but for everyone that we are close with too. Because Michael sure loved to eat, it was a job trying to make sure he was taken care of and his numbers were where they were supposed to be, while at the same time making him feel normal when we were at gatherings and birthdays. Children's of Alabama helped us...
In the summer of 2004 Michael was a happy 7-year-old boy. My parents took us on a trip to Disney World while my husband was serving in Iraq. During the trip, he complained constantly of pain in his hips and he was terribly fatigued. He enjoyed himself, but just barely. School started and Michael began to miss a few days here and there. He complained of shortness of breath and panted constantly. He had unexplained fevers periodically, and fell asleep in class several days a week. Months went by...
By Shelby Cohan In 2006, my then four year old son, Adams, had some episodes of leg shakes and vomiting that made us visit the doctor. He was cautious and sent us for a EEG, which was normal and then for a CAT scan that was not. We were sent to Children's where we met Dr. Wellons and he was diagnosed with a brain tumor resting over his brain stem. Adams had surgery on Good Friday and five days later we got the results that the tumor was benign. Every January we return for an MRI and have been...
When 13-month old Michaela Hicks randomly started running a fever, her mother, Dana, knew there was more going on than a simple fever virus. However, test after test performed at the pediatrician’s office came back normal. “After a couple of weeks she still had the fever and she was getting listless and pale,” Dana said. “I knew I had to get her to the hospital that day or she might not make it.” Dana took Michaela to the local emergency room, where after a couple of incorrect diagnoses, an...
Sixteen-year-old Michaln Wells is listed as a centerfielder on the roster of the Childersburg High School Tigers Baseball Team. But his name can also be found on another important roll – the national organ transplant waiting list. Michaln had just started ninth grade in 2013 when he was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection. When antibiotics did not clear it up, his local pediatrician referred him to Children’s of Alabama, where a pediatric nephrologist determined that Michaln had just 37...
Mickelluh has always shown signs of being sick in some sort of way. And when I, as his mom, was diagnosed with FAP when he was 5 months old, began worrying that he also had the same disease. My husband and I tried for six years to get someone to listen to us that Micke may possibly also be inflicted with FAP, but NO ONE would listen to us. He's too young everyone always told us, until we went to Children’s Hospital and finally someone did listen to us. That doctor was Dr. Saeed! He arranged for...
Like most little boys his age, Miles Brown loves to be outdoors playing soccer and football and battling imaginary ninjas. But just a couple of years ago, his activities were greatly limited by juvenile idiopathic arthritis. He lived with constant pain so great that it affected his mobility. On the worst days, he had to use a wheelchair. Diagnosed in 2012 at age 3, Miles, who lives in Biloxi, Miss. and Montgomery, Ala., underwent weekly injections from his doctor in Mobile in an attempt to...
Julia Dockery didn’t worry too much when in early January 2012 her 17-year-old daughter Miranda Hoffman came home from softball practice complaining of tingling in her toes. She just assumed her cleats were tied too tightly. The next day, Miranda said her hands felt the same way, and figured she must have caught the ball wrong. Even on the third day, when the tingling moved into her arms and legs, Miranda and Julia passed the symptoms off as a pinched nerve. But on the fourth day, when the...
Mollie Wilder had always been a relatively healthy child, but at age 10 she started having headaches. No one really thought anything of it at first until the headaches worsened. Mollie’s parents, Renee and Scott, took her to the emergency room twice, but both times doctors concluded the headaches were just pre-puberty migraines. Not satisfied with that answer, Renee sought another opinion from Mollie’s pediatrician. “Mollie had never had any signs of sickness or headaches and now all of a...
Grandmother Dorothy Johnson of Birmingham is among Children’s of Alabama’s most vocal champions. She witnessed first-hand the skilled and compassionate care of doctors and staff when her granddaughter, Morgan Price, was admitted to Children’s in September 2014. Morgan was born on July 7, 2014 with high bilirubin levels and jaundice. Then, just two weeks after Morgan’s birth, Morgan’s mother and Dorothy’s daughter, Arica, called 911 in a panic, telling emergency responders that Morgan was...
NAOMI PITTS Watch the Video Even before she was diagnosed, Naomi Pitts knew something was wrong – and that it was very bad. She was playing volleyball for her middle school at the time, and she realized she was tiring too quickly. Naomi's mother, Christine, encouraged her to keep on working hard at volleyball practice, but when the fatigue continued she decided to take her daughter in for an emergency department visit. “Within an hour of seeing her, the ED doctor came out and told us it...
Wow, where to begin… I was 22 weeks and I had a little girl-- Natalie. She was doing AWESOME for the first three days then her stomach starting swelling up. This went on for about two days when UAB then said it was time to transfer her to Children’s. Well within three hours of being there they told me she had NEC and needed surgery ASAP. My little Angel ended up going through six surgeries to get her where she is today. They tell you all the horror stories of what happens to premature babies....
I was born with spina bifida and my bladder was on the outside and my rectum wasn't formed, my hipbones were out of place, and I had one functioning kidney. If it wasn't for the doctors at Children’s Hospital I don't think I would be here today; and the grace of God. They made a big difference in my life.
Mia Jacobs Turner and her husband knew they both had the sickle cell trait and that their children would have a 1 in 4 chance of being born with the disease, but they decided to take their chances. Either way, they would still love and care for any baby they would have. “Knowing there was the possibility gave us more time to prepare,” Mia says. It wasn’t until a few weeks after the birth of their first child, Nia, that the Turners learned their little girl had the disease. They sought medical...
Nicholas Fiveash is one of the Fiveash triplets born three months premature. All three babies required world class medical care, unfortunately Nicholas needed it most. On April 25th, 2001 Nicholas, Jacob, and Hannah Fiveash were welcomed into the world. Nicholas weighing just one pound fifteen ounces suffered a brain bleed on his second day of life. On May 17th, Nicholas started having problems with his bowel and was transferred to Children's Hospital where he underwent surgery. Four days later...
Doctors gave Nick only a few months to live, but that never stopped him from living a normal life. Nick Mathis became sick in March of 1985 with what his mother, Charlie Steward, thought was the flu. Nick went on to school that day, but when his mom called Emmanuel Christian School to check on her sick son, she was told he was pale and had an upset stomach. She quickly took him to the Immediate Care Center and then they were sent to Children’s Hospital. Nick was immediately taken into a 10-...
Nicole was born with cerebral palsy. She had a stroke while in-utero. Her diagnosis wasn't until she was about 15 months old. We were lucky, hers is very mild. BUT, was put into PT and OT immediately and has been ever since. With each growth spurt we had been able to stretch her muscles and tendons to work but this last growth spurt over the summer of 2007 we just could not do it this time. She developed Cavus Foot and would require surgery; her first ever. Dr. Killian and his team had to...
When Lakeshia Watson’s 12-year-old daughter, Nigeria, received the news that her cancer (osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer) was in remission, she thought her daughter’s nearly year-long medical ordeal was over. But it wasn’t long before an even bigger problem came to light. Just a couple of months after going into remission, Nigeria went on a trip to Washington, D.C. While there, she began experiencing shortness of breath. “During the trip, she did a lot of walking, so we thought it was...
Noah was born on a hot morning in August. He was a month early but seemed to be in good health. Everything went according to plan. Then, after he had been placed in my arms for about 5 minutes, the nurse noticed that he had a blue tinge to his lips. She took him to the nursery to watch him. Not long after, they wheeled him into my room in an incubator and told me he was going to the NICU and would more than likely be released a few days after I went home. My daughters barely even had time to...
For Laura Ruth Padgett and her son, Noah Vick, life changed in an instant. One day while playing out on his condo balcony without his mother’s knowledge, Noah slipped and fell five stories. “He told me he was going to go take a nap. He had been sick, so I didn’t think anything of it,” Laura Ruth recalled. “Then probably 10 minutes later there was banging on my door and yelling for me to come quick.” A maintenance worker found Noah unconscious, and he was immediately transported to Children’s...
When Oakley Hurst first showed symptoms of what appeared to be the flu, his parents, Marcus and Stacy, didn’t think too much of it – it was flu season, after all. But Oakley’s symptoms didn’t let up. “He had a really bad headache and nothing we did made it go away,” Stacy said. Stacy suspected that Oakley was dehydrated and took him to the local hospital, where they learned Oakley had bleeding on the brain. Within minutes, they were on their way to Children’s of Alabama, where Oakley was...
The Lytle family’s experience with neurological disease began when Kelly and Rich’s youngest son, Oliver, was just four-and-a-half years old in 2011. After a sudden and unexpected seizure, an electroencephalogram (EEG) found abnormal spiking on the left side of his brain, confirming he had epilepsy. For almost two years, medication controlled it. But eventually, no medication was working; Oliver was experiencing intractable epilepsy. “It was a rough time,” Kelly said. “Oliver was having...
For nearly a year, 13-year-old Olivia Landreth had been sick with a mystery illness. She had missed a total of 27 days during the school year and had gone to at least 20 different doctors and specialists desperate to find what was ailing her. It wasn’t until one doctor checked her urine last August and found unusually high ketone. Ketone in the urine is a sign that the body is using fat for energy instead of using glucose because not enough insulin is available to use glucose for energy. The...
Beth Saint had no idea her daughter was so close to dying. It was just weeks before 10-year-old Olivia Saint was to start fifth grade when she came down with flu-like symptoms. Her lethargy would come and go, but never seemed to completely clear up. Then one day Olivia took a turn for the worse. “Her color was off,” Beth recalls. “She just didn’t look very good at all.” She took her daughter to the emergency room, where doctors discovered her blood sugar was a startling 1180 – 10 times higher...
Olivia was born on June 20, 2012 and began to have seizures when she was 5 weeks old. She was transported to Children's Hospital and had a five-day hospitalization. She was put on seizure medications and it soon became apparent that she was developmentally delayed. She has now been diagnosed with mild Cerebral Palsy. She is a wonderfully happy and pleasant baby. At almost 9 months, she is now attempting to sit up. She receives therapy at home and progress can be seen. We ask for your prayers...
Oma Lavelle McCarty Oma Lavelle McCarty was born with a club foot, but options for correcting the birth defect were limited in Tallapoosa County in 1938. Immediately after his birth, Oma’s parents sought treatment for their little boy from a doctor in nearby Selma but after wearing a cast for the 15 months of his life, Oma’s foot showed no improvement. So his parents brought him to Birmingham where he underwent 13 operations over the next 13 years. In those days, the surgeries were performed...
In 2011, six-year-old Omari Chatman and his father were driving from their home in Midfield to Children’s of Alabama several times a week in order for Omari to receive hemodialysis at the hospital’s Pediatric Nephrology Division. Omari had been diagnosed with Nephrotic Syndrome, a condition that can cause high levels of protein to be secreted into urine when the kidneys’ ability to filter blood is damaged. Doctors at Children’s decided that Omari’s kidney damage was significant enough to place...
It was January 26, 2005, and I was taking Owen for his 15 month well visit. I had noticed the strange glare on his eye several times but didn't think much of it. I was more concerned about his vision. Being very nearsighted myself, I made sure I knew what to look for and he had been tilting his head to the side when playing so I knew something was wrong. I had no clue it was cancer. Retinoblastoma to be exact. Within two days we were at Children’s Hospital and our lives were forever changed....
Parker Crawford of Sylacauga has shown himself to be a fighter every day since he was born in May 1999. Prenatal testing revealed some abnormalities in his facial structure so his mother, Lisa, was not surprised when Parker was transferred to the Children’s of Alabama Neonatal Intensive Care Unit just two days after being born by emergency Caesarean section at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Parker’s ears and nose are affected by what Lisa described as an unknown facial disorder. The...
Parker McQueen is a child of Children’s. His father, Dr. Mike McQueen has spent countless hours at the hospital with Parker, but his own experience with Children’s began back in 1986 with his pediatric rotation. Dr. McQueen was on call at Children’s when his twins were born and again two years later when his wife went into labor with their third son, Parker. Between ages 9 months and one year, Parker began missing some development milestones. After his first birthday he had his first seizure...
My son Parker Alan was born June 5, 2009 at UAB West in Bessemer, AL. Doctor Francois Bladeau performed the c-section delivery, not knowing the complications to come. Parker was having a very hard time breathing. At first they thought maybe he had a little fluid on his lungs, which does happen with c-section babies because the fluid is not pushed out through the birth canal, but after trying to calm his breathing the doctor ordered an X-ray of Parker's chest. Everything happened so quickly,...
May 22, 2017 is a day forever marked on the hearts of the Williams family. Their youngest child, then 1-year-old Parker, born with a congenital heart defect, was wheeled back to surgery at Children’s of Alabama to receive a new heart. “It all happened so very quickly,” said Parker’s mother, Ashley. “There were 10 of us in the waiting room that night. They took Parker back at 10 p.m., and finished at 9:30 a.m., the following morning. “I remember telling my Mom in the moment that any mother...
Parker was born September 14, 2005, six weeks earlier than we had planned. He was small, 4 pounds 11 ounces, and not breathing very strongly, but that was to be expected with slightly immature lungs. After a couple of days of oxygen and some time for his lungs to mature, we thought we would carry our new baby boy home to start our new adventures as a family. Unfortunately, that was not the case. At about 20 hours old, Parker had an apnea episode where he stopped breathing. The nurses got him to...
Pat Gordon would not have been considered a child to most when he was first referred to Children’s Hospital. It was just after the thanksgiving holidays that the 27 year old went to the doctor and a form of cancer was discovered in his hip. Doctors were unsure of what type of cancer Pat was suffering from so he was sent to the Mayo Clinic. It was here that Pat was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma and then referred to Dr. Jim Dearth at Children’s. Doctors told Pat that if he didn’t mind going to a...
Like many kids, Paul Peterson came down with the chicken pox when he was seven years old. But instead of recovering after a few weeks as most do, Paul’s body reacted to the antibodies produced in fighting the chicken pox. For the next three years, the young boy endured numerous episodes brought about by the autoimmune disease that had been triggered in his body. Each time, he was treated at Children’s Hospital. “More than anything, I remember the room. It was very clean, very nice and had a...
An annual Thanksgiving family reunion in 1990 was interrupted when eight year old Paul complained with shortness of breath, pain in the left side and leg cramps while playing outside with cousins. His problems had begun four weeks earlier with sinus drainage leading to sore throat and an ever so slow-rising temperature. The Monday following Thanksgiving a bone marrow aspiration confirmed our worst fears of acute lymphocytic leukemia. TCHA became our haven away from home and on Tuesday after...
When Jake and Samantha Pendleton welcomed their fourth child, Jude, the family was ecstatic. But that excitement was soon overshadowed by apprehension when Jude began experiencing serious breathing issues at just 8 days old. “He hadn’t been eating well, and then one day he became extremely lethargic,” Jake said. “We realized he was having respiratory distress.” Jake and Samantha rushed Jude to their local hospital in Dothan, Alabama, then Children’s of Alabama’s Critical Care Transport team...
Visits to the doctor are certainly not an event most children look forward to, but for Payton Ray, a routine doctor’s checkup turned out to be a potentially life-saving moment. Payton’s mother, Joy, took him in for a routine appointment with his pediatrician to check his thyroid levels. “He frequently had issues with anemia with his iron levels going up and down,” Joy said. “It wasn’t uncommon for his blood levels to be down, but they typically would go back up. This time, they weren’t.” Not...
My grandson would pass out when he cried. We were sent to Children's Hospital and spent three days there. I still can't believe how wonderful everyone was to us. from the doctors down to the house keeping people. The Doctors and the nurses took the time to explain everything to us in detail. They were so encouraging about his future and how he would grow out of it. Thank God for people like the ones we had at Children's Hospital. Thank you for helping us! It means so much to us that you cared...
My Stay as a Child By Peggy Jean Self I was a patient of Children's when I was around 4 years old.(1943-1945) I had sores all over my mouth, throat, and into my stomach. I could eat only liquids. I was there around 3 weeks it seems. When I was there I had 72 penicillin shots. It was a very scary time as a child because my parents were not allowed to stay with me. I remember being in a hospital ward with many other children and I slept in a tall crib with rails put up. I would cry everyday when...
On May 3, 2007, I played in one of my softball games making a double play to end the game. The next day, I was scheduled to have a cat scan because I was having really bad headaches. Dr. Ramsey, at Dothan Pediatrics, ordered the test at Flowers Hospital just to make sure nothing was wrong. The test was at 11:30 a.m. and by 8:30 p.m. that night of May 4, 2007 my mama, my Aunt and me were checking into Children's Hospital. I had been diagnosed with a Craniopharyngioma, a type of brain tumor very...
In April of 1986 I was feeling very weak and tired, not typical for your average 5-year-old. Long story short, I was diagnosed with typed A-L-L Leukemia and rushed to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, AL that same day. The doctors worked vigorously giving me medicines, chemo, radiation treatments. I was even sent to Seattle, WA to have some of my bone marrow put on storage incase I needed a transplant. Thanks to Jesus Christ, and the doctors at Children’s Hospital, I’m alive today.
Peyton is 10 years old and was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis when she was 3 years old. After a couple bouts with pneumonia and some digestive problems, our pediatrician (who completed her internship at Children's in the Pulmonary Department) decided she wanted to do a sweat test for CF. The sweat test came back as CF. Our doctor was able to get us an appointment at Children's the next day. Our world was turned upside down. We didn't know anything about CF and were scared to death. We were...
Peyton was born at Flowers Hospital in Dothan, Alabama at 6:15 p.m. on 11/19/06. The doctors informed us that he needed to be flown to Children's Hospital that night because he did not have an anus, he had a major VSD, and he had Down Syndrome. Once the flight team arrived they put Peyton in a big machine, and they told my husband and I that they would take good care of him. I got to the Hospital the next day (even though it was not visiting hours) the nurses at Children’s let me hold my baby...
Andrew started getting sick at the age of five weeks. He had pneumonia five times. He has 19 surgeries. Surgeries include ear drum replacement on both ears, tonsils and adnoids removed, five port placements/removals, along with many more. Andrew still doesn't complain. His fevers have been as high as 105.7 for days. He has had ruptured ear drums, stayed at Children's for sometimes a month at a time; still never complaining. He gets an IV every 28 days (for his immune system) to help him stay as...
Prinston Amir was born on April 8, 2015. He was so perfect. He had a head full of hair, so beautiful! The first day went by and Prinston didn't have his first bowel movement. I knew right then my son had Hirschsprung disease because it’s a hereditary condition. It affects the large intestine and causes problems with passing stool.This was not my first rodeo. Not only was I diagnosed with this disease as a baby, but also my first son Tristin. I was saddened, but knew I had to deal with things...
Prinston Harkey was born April 8, 2015, with Hirschsprung (HIRSH-sproong) disease, a congenital disorder of the large intestine or colon. It’s a condition all too familiar to Prinston’s mother, Tiffany. She, too, was born with Hirschsprung disease, as was her oldest son, Prinston’s big brother. In some cases, Hirschsprung disease is hereditary, meaning it is linked to genes that are passed from parents to their children. The condition affects about 1 in 5,000 children who require surgery,...
When the Children’s of Alabama Critical Care Transport (CCT) team entered the emergency department at a Talladega hospital on March 6, 2015, 17-year-old Quintavius Lee was in full arrest. Just hours earlier, his family had taken him there with a severe asthma attack – one far worse than any he previously had experienced. “When we arrived, three rounds of CPR had been performed by the emergency department staff,” said Myra Waddell, R.N., a Children’s CCT flight nurse. “My partner and I stepped...
My Son Eddie was born 6 weeks premature with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus. At birth he weighted 6lb 14oz and was 20" long. His head was 42cm at birth and they did not think he had anything but a brain stem. They thought that Eddie would not be anything but a veggie for his life but Eddie has surprised us all. He is wheelchair bound but is the sweetest most loving child I have ever seen. He has been in the Hospital many, many times over the years with quite a few different problems. He has had...
When Robert James “R.J.” Holcomb was born, parents Craig and Michelle felt like they didn’t have a worry in the world. But doctors soon realized something wasn’t right. R.J.’s legs, feet, and fingers were purple and blue. He was placed on oxygen and X-rays revealed R.J.’s heart was backwards. R.J. underwent testing and was officially diagnosed with dextrocardia – a rare congenital heart condition. Testing also revealed R.J.’s lungs weren’t connected to his heart. He had pulmonary atresia,...
When I was 2 weeks old, I began projectile vomiting. Over the next few days, I could not keep any food down at all. I began to lose weight and cried constantly. My parents took me to doctor after doctor and were told that I just had virus. Thankfully, my parents knew something else was going on. They finally took me to the local emergency room where the pediatrician on call diagnosed my condition as pyloric Stenosis. Pyloric Stenosis is most common in first-born boys, but even then is pretty...
Rachel Blackerby was born in 1998, a perfectly healthy looking, beautiful newborn baby. She had a strange mark, a lack of pigmentation, around her left ear and jawline. Over the next couple weeks this strange mark swelled into a purple/red tumor that appeared to spread with each passing day. It was a compound hemangioma, a rare version, that threatened to cover her entire face. The hemangioma not only swelled on the surface of her face, but was deeply embedded under the surface as well. Rachel...
Sonya White could never have guessed the role she would play in the life of her great niece Raine Keir. Looking back, she says it’s been a “scary ride, but this is a ride I’d do again tomorrow.” Sonya and her husband spent a lot of time caring for Raine since she was born on April 29, 2008. When she was 3 ½ months old, the Whites became her primary guardians. “We changed our whole lives around to care for her,” Sonya recalls. The first sign that anything was wrong with the little girl came...
On Aug. 21, 2016, Ramsey Grace “Gracie” Morris received her miracle. At just 13 weeks old in 2015, Gracie was diagnosed with biliary atresia – a blockage in the tubes or ducts that carry bile from the liver to the gallbladder. The congenital condition occurs when the bile ducts inside or outside the liver do not develop normally, and can lead to liver damage and cirrhosis of the liver if untreated. All seemed well when Joe and Gabbie Morris brought their newborn daughter home from the...
Our son was nineteen, full of life and ambitious. While mountain biking at Oak Mountain he had a fall and shortly thereafter developed a swelling on his hip. We doctored locally first but no doctor could tell us it was just a hematoma caused by his fall. We finally ended up in Birmingham for an open biopsy. All in one day, we got the awful diagnosis, went the few blocks from Kirklin Clinic, and met with the doctors from Childen’s. Randy fought a courageous fight for almost three years. During...
By Kristine Gresh Randy Brown was just nine months old when he burned his hands on his family’s woodburning stove, but the skin grafting had to wait until he was five years old when there was enough skin on his legs to do the reconstructive surgery. His injury was in 1953. The wobbly, but quick, nine-month-old Randy touched the stove door that had been dropped down for a second. In the few years before the surgery, his fingers curled up, so the job of staff at Children’s Hospital was to...
At age 17, former Sheffield High School football player Raylan Winston was involved in a car accident that resulted in a traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury. He has since applied the “never give up” mindset that served him well on the gridiron to his physical and occupational therapy rehabilitation at Children’s of Alabama. “I had been a football player my whole life, but then I had the car wreck and I had to change my plans.” Raylan said. “But I’m still an athlete in my mind and...
Raymond was 10 years old when his family was involved in a near fatal car accident. He was not wearing his seat belt and was thrown from the vehicle. Both of his arms were broken. Numerous surgeries were done in hope to save his leg but he ended up having a amputation above the knee. So much blood was lost and his leg was damaged beyond repair. Losing his leg at an early age has not stopped him from playing basketball or football. He nearly bleed to death and we almost lost him but the many...
It often has been said, “It takes a village to raise a child.” In the case of Reagan Watkins of Brookwood, however, it has taken all the expertise, care and love of a “brain trust” to help this courageous and joyful little girl reach the milestone of her fourth birthday—and to thrive in the months since that time. “Brain trust” is the term Reagan’s mother, Erika, uses to describe the multidisciplinary team of specialists at Children’s of Alabama who have been caring for her daughter almost...
Thirteen years ago we came to know Children’s Hospital. We had never heard of it until we needed it. To this day it gives me chills to think of the first time Children’s came to us. We were in the ICU of our local hospital with Dr. Scott waiting for "the Children’s team" to pick up our baby. They would be flying her away from us. When they entered that hospital in their blue flight suits a team of about five or six men and women carrying all kinds of equipment—it was a surreal moment. I was...
In May 2014 sisters Sarah and Rebekah Brown suffered traumatic brain injuries in an automobile accident in Huntsville, AL. Nine-year-old Sarah was immediately airlifted to Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham, while 7-year-old Rebekah remained in Huntsville until doctors there felt she could be transported. “Sarah had multiple fractures all over her body, especially her face, and a broken ankle. Rebekah stayed in Huntsville in a coma with a drain in her head and on a ventilator. It wasn’t safe...
It’s not always easy to spot a potential problem with a young child. Gut instinct guided Tom and Louisa Jeffries when their oldest daughter, Reed, was acting a bit out of sorts. “She was having trouble listening and paying attention,” Louisa said. “I could say something directly to her, but she wouldn’t respond and then act like she hadn’t heard me. It was very strange for her.” After a few more subtle but strange instances with Reed, Louisa took her to the pediatrician who suspected seizures....
When Reese Lisenby of Dothan was almost 3 years old, she developed pneumonia. X-rays showed a life-threatening accumulation of fluid around her lungs. Her parents, Judd and Nicole, were told that she needed to be transported by ambulance from the local hospital to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham. “A great sense of panic set in – going to Children’s meant that Reese’s situation was critical,” Nicole recalls. The Lisenbys’ situation was compounded by the fact that Nicole was eight months...
Sometimes, parents’ intuition knows best. That was certainly the case for Clay and Starr Carter, and their daughter, Richlyn. One night when Richlyn was 6 weeks old, she began crying while in bed and fell ill. “As first-time parents we couldn’t tell what was wrong, but we thought it was probably a stomach virus so we took her to the pediatrician the very next day,” Clay said. “The doctor told us that it wasn’t viral but that he really wasn’t sure what it was, so he made an appointment for us...
Perceived misbehavior in the classroom led to Rick Hood’s epilepsy diagnosis. One day, Rick’s kindergarten teacher thought he was acting out when he actually suffered a seizure. “He fell out of his chair, and when the teacher came over to him, he had no idea what was going on,” said Rick’s mother, Jamie. “Our pediatrician acknowledged that was odd behavior, so she referred us to a neurologist for evaluation.” Rick was referred to pediatric neurologist Dr. Katherine Hammond at Children’s of...
When Ricky was born, we found out that he had a form of spina bifida called lipomylomeningocele. Dr. Cheryl Fekete broke the news to us after we had several hours of wondering what was wrong. We had to go to Children's Hospital when he was one day old. We met Dr. Oakes who scheduled an MRI that day and scheduled surgery for the following week. The surgery was long but very successful. The prognosis was Ricky had a 20 percent chance of walking with surgery and maybe a five percent chance without...
When the audiologist told us in May 2003 that our 18-month-old daughter had never heard our voices and didn't even know her name, we were devastated, but not shocked. We had suspicions, but we were still unprepared for the news that our daughter was deaf. She was fitted with digital hearing aids, but they were not powerful enough, so we opted for a cochlear implant. Dr. Audie Woolley at Children's Hospital placed a Nucleus Contour 24 in Riley's right ear on Sept. 16, 2003. On Oct. 9, 2003, she...
My name is Bill Elam, and I would like to tell you about my little superhero named Robbie. He was born September 2007 in Bay Minette, Ala. through a very traumatic birth. After being resuscitated twice he was transferred to USA Children's and Women's Hospital in Mobile, Ala. After spending eight weeks in the NICU, he was able to come home to his family. About this time, his older brother was diagnosed with childhood epilepsy. After getting his brother's seizures under control, Robbie started...
Robert was born in Selma, Alabama with an underdeveloped left side of the body, called Polin Syndrome. In 1976 doctors did not know what to say to Robert’s parents. His family took him to Children’s Hospital. At 6 months old he endured his first surgery and then again at 12 months old. Robert learned to crawl and walk with a cast which was a challenge. Over the course of 10 years of Robert’s life he followed up with visits to Children’s. Robert remembers having a great experience at Children’s,...
Jaxon was born on May 6, 2010. At his 1 week old checkup, it was determined that he had Sagittal Craniosynostosis. This was discovered so quickly because his big sister, Anna, had the same thing. While we were devastated that our brand new baby would be facing surgery, it gave us much peace to know that he would be in the capable hands of terrific doctors at Children's in Birmingham, Ala. Since we went through this already with our daughter, we were well-prepared for what we were facing. Once...
“It is a wise father who knows his own child.” – William Shakespeare It was a shift gone unnoticed by everyone but Robert Struble. His then-12-year-old daughter, Robin, would stare into space and cease to speak. The episodes would end as soon as they began, each one fleeting – over in a flash. “As time went by, it became more noticeable,” said Struble, a single father who booked Robin an appointment with a neurologist to find answers. “He kept saying she didn’t have epilepsy and I never...
When I was born at the medical center in Dothan, Alabama everything appeared to be perfectly normal. It was not until the nurses were giving me my first bath that they discovered that I had soft cleft palate and I stopped breathing. I was then intubated and flown to Children’s Hospital. On the way to Birmingham the tube moved into my right lung and caused a pneumothorax. At Children’s a chest-tube was placed in my side and feeding tube in my nose. I stayed there for several weeks in an...
For almost two years, Rollins Wilkerson was a typical, healthy little girl. But the week of her second birthday in June 2008, she began to exhibit seemingly small illnesses. First, it was pink eye. Then, it was an ear infection. “We really didn’t think much of it,” said her mother, Brooke. That same week, Brooke took Rollins to her pediatrician for her annual checkup. During the routine blood test, Rollins’ lab work revealed a problem. “At first they honestly thought there was a problem with...
To Karey Haisten-Matlock and her husband, William Matlock III, the way their 13-year-old son, Ryland, works through the pain of osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) is truly strength personified. OCD is a condition in which bone underneath the cartilage of a joint dies and begins to chip off due to lack of blood flow. The cause of OCD is unknown, although some researchers believe there could be a genetic component. The Signal Mountain, Tennessee, youngster began showing symptoms of the illness at...
Eleven-year-old Rylann Day was starting her fifth grade year at school when she was diagnosed with an enlarged heart and placed on the heart transplant list in August 2018. “She was an active, normal child like any other fifth-grader until the week after school started and she got sick,” said Jessica Day, Rylann’s mother. Rylann first realized something was wrong when she became short of breath walking a short distance with a friend. Her parents took her to her local doctor, who diagnosed...
Allison East was 24 weeks pregnant when an ultrasound showed her baby had an alarming defect. Her heart was on the right side of her body. Tests later showed she had a congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), a hole in the diaphragm (the muscle under the lungs used for breathing), that allows organs from the abdomen to move into the chest. It is a life-threatening condition that is often treated with surgery. Allison was under the care of specialists when her daughter, Rylee, was born three...
As with any new parents, Gary and Bernadette Chapman of Birmingham were overjoyed when they welcomed their baby girl, Sadie, into the world. What they never expected was just how much their lives would change again just nine days later. Soon after Sadie was born, doctors discovered a heart murmur that started and stopped sporadically. At just over a week old, they diagnosed Sadie with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a congenital heart defect in which the left side of the heart does not form...
Sadie Marie Knight was born on November 21, 2006 in Mobile, Al. My husband and I were first time parents and just over the moon with excitement when Sadie was born. She was born two months premature and gave us quite a scare. From the moment she came into this world she proved to be such a brave little girl. In July 2007 at eight months old we started noticing a decline in her appetite. A mild rash soon followed. After the initial visit with our pediatrician we were told Sadie had eczema. This...
For about four weeks, our eight year old daughter Salem had been having a series of unexplained fevers that would go as quickly as they came. It was like taking your car to the mechanic for repairs and the mechanic not being able to find a problem because the car was running fine. Nothing would show up when we carried Salem to her pediatrician, who did a complete set of blood tests (more than once). Salem's dad brought her home from softball practice early on Thursday before Good Friday in...
I went to the Children's Hospital when I was 15. I met Dr. Pacifico (aka Dr. Magnifico!) and was told that I had to have open-heart surgery. He helped my family feel more at ease throughout the ordeal, and we are still grateful. I am 22 years old now, and have since made a full recovery. I work at Wal-Mart as a cashier. When I learned how the company was such a big supporter of the Children's Hospital, I knew that I had to get involved. I went to visit the Children's Hospital on Wal-Mart...
What started out as simple problems with his right leg and knee, Samuel Brewer was later diagnosed at Children’s Hospital with a slipped epiphysis; a hip disorder that is common in adolescents. “I knew something was wrong when my nephew (also my best friend) could outrun me and outwrestle me. I kept telling my mother I needed to go to the doctor, so finally she took me. He then sent me the Children’s Hospital in Birmingham. Once there, he was diagnosed and told that he would have to have a...
Samuel’s mom, Jennifer, said when she was pregnant with Samuel the doctors in Dothan noticed a spot on her ultrasound and sent her to Birmingham for genetic testing. Miraculously the spot was gone by her next visit. When Samuel was born; however, he couldn’t breathe on his own. They immediately flew him to Children’s Hospital. “They let me see him, but I couldn’t hold him. Once he got there they were able to diagnose him with a diaphragm hernia. He had lost a lot of oxygen and needed a blood...
At the age of 12, growths began to appear on the insteps of Sandra Petty Granger’s feet. The size of the growths made walking painful for her. Her local doctor in Dadeville advised her parents to take her to Children’s Hospital. There Granger was diagnosed with Dupuytrens Contractures, which normally appears in the hands of adults in their fifties and sixties. When it appears in young people, it is a more aggressive form. The disease is hereditary and came from her mother’s side of the...
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the average weight of a 2 ½ year old female is about 30 pounds. When Saniyah Arnold was hospitalized at Children’s of Alabama at that age, she weighed approximately 50 pounds. Her weight gain, however, was not due to obesity; she had over 20 pounds of excess water in her body caused by a condition called nephrotic syndrome. “She was not responding to diuretic medications or other therapies,” says her mother, Brie Cash. “Her legs, feet, eyes and...
Like thousands of families across the state, the Slighs of Fairhope, Ala. depend on Children’s of Alabama to provide the specialized pediatric care that 10-year-old Sarah Kate and 3-year-old Nathan need. Now an active little girl who swims and plays softball, Sarah Kate was born 10 weeks prematurely and weighed only 2 lbs. 9 ozs. at birth. She spent 53 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Just after her first birthday, she was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. “Sarah Kate has been a Child...
Sarah Lynne Keith is one of the approximately 13,000 children in the United States each year who are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. “With type 1 diabetes, the end result is that you are incapable of making insulin. The cells in the pancreas that make insulin have been completely destroyed and you can make no insulin on your own,” said Dr. Mary Lauren Scott, Sarah Lynne’s endocrinologist at Children’s of Alabama. In the spring of 2010, Theresa Keith noticed that 3-year-old Sarah Lynne was...
It was to be a fun long weekend for the Baugh family when festivities took a dangerous turn. Keith Baugh and daughters Savannah and Lila were attending a Memorial Day family gathering at Keith’s brother’s home. Guests were swimming in the backyard pool when Savannah, age 4, accidently slid from the shallow end into the deep end. “No one saw her go under and no one heard her, but they noticed she was missing pretty quickly,” said Savannah’s mother, Katie Baugh, a nurse who was working at the...
Sawyer Dykman recently celebrated his third birthday, a milestone made possible by the kidney transplant he received when he was 16 months old. During a routine sonogram to determine the sex of their baby, Sawyer’s parents Ashley and Matt Dykman, discovered that their son showed symptoms of Prune Belly Syndrome. Prune Belly Syndrome is a disorder which affects mostly males, characterized by a lack of abdominal muscles and urinary tract malformations. The developing baby's abdomen swells with...
January 22, 2003, is a day that Shannon Barnes of Gardendale, Alabama, and her family will never forget. Shannon and her younger sister, Tabitha, never imagined that on their drive home from school that day, their lives would change forever. Along the way home, Shannon, 16, pulled up to a red light and stopped, waiting for the light to turn green. When the light finally turned, Shannon paused and looked both ways to make sure that the road was clear before she proceeded home. Just seconds after...
It all started the summer of the fifth grade. I was about to start my sixth grade year. I was always a very small child and my mom noticed that I wasn’t getting any taller, and she was concerned. She scheduled an appointment with my pediatrician, Dr. Coggins, and everything happened from there. They took an X-ray of my left hand and discovered that the growth plate was closing, and fast. They scheduled an appointment at Children’s with Dr. Latif. It was there that I was diagnosed with Turner...
Shayne and Payne are twins born at only 24 weeks gestation on October 4, 2000 in Dothan. They stayed in the hospital for four months, gaining weight and getting stronger each day. They were both on ventilators but would aspirate every time they would cry. Their mom and dad, Michelle and Doyle, wondered when they would ever get to take them home. They did get strong enough to breathe on their own and both were released from the hospital in early February 2001, just days apart. Michelle said once...
It was the night before final exams week at the University of Alabama in December 2015 when Shelby Hazelip fell ill, experiencing shortness of breath, chest pain and tightness. The then 19-year-old initially wrote the symptoms off, but while taking her exams, the symptoms persisted and worsened as the day went on. “Later that night, it got to the point where I was severely uncomfortable, so I took myself to the [emergency room],” Shelby said. After an examination, Shelby was told her symptoms...
Shelby was born nearly eight weeks early to Stacy and Billy Smithart. Shortly after he was born, he had difficulty breathing and was placed on a monitor. As he continued to have problems, he was flown to Children’s Hospital. There, the doctors explained that Shelby’s lungs were underdeveloped and were the cause of his breathing difficulties. Stacy said the nurses were able to put things into simpler terms for them. “They told us that Shelby’s condition was common in premature babies. They...
I was around the age of five when I was diagnosed with Cruzons Syndrome. Being so young those were words I didn’t understand. I mean I knew when I was little that I had to be careful with my eyes or they would slip out, so even blow drying my hair was a caution. I dealt with the stares, the teasing and not having many friends. I didn’t like taking pictures either. After my first surgery things sort of got worse. I had a hard time accepting things and was always quiet and shy. I had friends but...
Shirley Engle Like many children of her generation, Shirley Engle was struck by polio at age three. The disease left her with one leg shorter than the other, which affected her ability to walk. “I remember my dad making me braces when I was little and me crying ‘don’t put them on me,’” Shirley recalls. “I wore braces until I went to that hospital and got my surgery.” An operation at age 13 helped correct her condition, but it also required a lonely three-month stay for the young girl from...
Twelve-year-old Skylar Wilson began her day on Oct. 15, 2018, just like any other, with her twin sister Sadie in keyboarding class at Muscle Shoals Middle School (MSMS). Things quickly took a turn when Skylar lost consciousness and went into cardiac arrest. At 8:10 a.m., Skylar’s heart stopped. “It is a day my family will truly never forget,” said Jessica Wilson, Skylar’s mother. “I never thought it would happen to my kid. She is so active and healthy, there were no warning signs for it. It...
Sometimes a visit to the hospital is about more than treating an injury or illness. It’s also about making the patient feel safe, comfortable and secure. When Jennifer Fisher brought her son, Sladen, to Children’s of Alabama for an injury he suffered at school, she knew the emergency room visit would be stressful on him. Sladen has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and sensory processing disorder (SPD). Jennifer had arrived at Sladen’s school to pick him up when he walked in...
Jennifer Swindle, a special care nurse at Children’s of Alabama, meets all sorts of children while on the job. But it was one baby girl who stole her heart – and eventually took her last name. Stefani Swindle came to Children’s as a preemie with subglottic stenosis, a narrowing of the airway below the vocal cords and above the trachea. She spent the first year of her life at Children’s, and at the age of 6 months, was moved to the Special Care Unit. “Stefani was such a special little baby,”...
A birthday should be a happy occasion for every child and Stella Hardy and her family from Holt, Fla., had much to celebrate when she recently turned 2. In just a year, Stella, a patient in Aerodigestive Program at Children’s of Alabama, has gone from a seriously ill baby to happy and healthy toddler. Soon after Stella was born, her parents noticed that she sounded congested whenever she took a bottle. “She sounded very ‘junky,’ like she needed to clear her throat. We eventually made an...
Hello, I'm Stephanie Eiland. I was diagnosed with Scoliosis the summer before I was to start 4th grade. My parents noticed that when I walked one of my shoulders was noticeably shorter than the other one and were a bit concerned. So, they carried me to my local doctor, where he took X-rays and told me I had a right degree curve in my back, and he would just check up on it every couple of months. My parents felt something was still wrong. My mother got on the computer and started looking up...
When our daughter Stephanie was just 12 days old she had a seizure. Her eyes were opening and closing and we rushed her to our local doctor in Tuscumbia. She was immediately air lifted to Children’s Hospital. As we drove down to Birmingham worried and frightened, our newborn baby girl’s entire life was about to change. Once there, she was diagnosed with hydrocephalus. Dr. Oakes did her surgery and placed her shunt. She saw several other doctors as well. My husband and I would take turns...
My name is Stephanie Williams. I am a former patient of the Children’s Hospital in Birmingham. I was treated there in 1977. I had open heart surgery and I also had tests off and on such as catherizations and balloons done there when needed. At the time I was a patient I went by my maiden name Stephanie Lynn Lemaster. I can still remember when I had some of my test there. Everyone was great and I made friends there with other patients. I sometimes wonder how they are doing. I still have to visit...
Susan Benson Crow was just three years old when her parents received devastating news Susan had liver cancer. “I was diagnosed in 1981 and my mother always says we spent our first year there, 365 days we did not come home for the first year,” she said. “I had a liver resection and i also had chemotherapy." “I know for a fact that i was one of the first children at children’s hospital to survive this type of cancer. So if it had not been for them and their hard work and their perseverance, I...
Syble Farr Syble Farr had just begun to walk at the age of eleven months. Her father would allow the baby to play with his closed pocketknife when her aunt came over to help out with the children. While playing with the knife, Syble’s aunt noticed that she dropped it and could not hold onto it while playing. There was an epidemic of infantile paralysis, now known as polio, during this time. The aunt suggested that Syble see a doctor to determine if she had infantile paralysis, which was a...
When Sydney Rogers was six years old her parents noticed that she had no energy. Her mother, Kim, said Sydney had no energy to run, play, or swim in the family’s pool. “She had been swimming since she was a baby and even when her friends and cousins were around she would just lie on the couch. Her daddy had to carry her everywhere we went on our trip to Chattanooga. She was just that weak.” Sydney weighed only 40 pounds and had started to lose more weight. Her parents became very concerned...
One mistake can sometimes lead to an unexpected, serious accident. Twelve-year-old Tanner Morris was out one evening riding bikes with friends, just like he would any other typical night, but this time Tanner wasn’t wearing a helmet. “He came inside crying, saying he had a wreck and hurt his elbow and his head,” said Tanner’s mom, Tara. “He was acting a little different and just a few minutes later he started vomiting.” Tara and her husband, John, rushed Tanner to their local emergency room in...
Children’s of Alabama nurse Tanya Nethery knows first-hand the challenges of living with diabetes. After receiving her diagnosis of type 1 diabetes in 1978, Tanya remained a patient at Children’s for 14 years. Tanya learned how to manage her diabetes and has faced many of the same challenges as her patients – from paying extra attention to nutrition at a very young age to frequent visits to the doctor to insulin therapy. These shared experiences allow her to connect with patients on a personal...
Taylor was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma at 11 years old in Sept 2006. She had complained of her right arm hurting on and off over the summer, but was on the swim team and we thought it was from daily swimming. We were very blessed to find out that Taylor's cancer was located to just one area. Taylor began her chemo in Sept of 2006 and had treatment until Dec 5, 2006 when she had her reconstructive surgery. After her surgery she again had six months of chemo to assure all cancer cells were...
Health problems can come out of nowhere, and that’s something 13-year-old Taylor Hermeling knows all too well. One day she was fine, the next she unexpectedly fell in the shower. Knowing something was off, Taylor immediately called her mother, Melissa. “We really thought it was dehydration or something like that,” Melissa said. To be safe, Taylor went to see her pediatrician, but everything seemed to be fine. A few days later, however, Taylor had a seizure. It was mild, but obviously out of...
After several months of having a fever, a limp and other symptoms Taylor was diagnosed on 10.10.02 with Neuroblastoma, a very rare childhood cancer. We were sent to Dr. Berkow in the Oncology dept. It was a long hard battle, but so far Taylor is winning. We never had a bad moment on 4 tower or clinic 8. We truly love our staff at Children's and are so grateful for them. God put us right where we needed to be. We praise God everyday for the miracle he gave us in Taylor and for giving us...
Thomas Evans is an avid golf fan who loves to play to the game every chance he gets. When he began complaining about his side hurting one day, his parents didn’t think much of it because he had hit the course just hours earlier. When the pain persisted, however, Thomas’ mom, Julie, knew a trip to the pediatrician was best. “We just wanted to be sure everything was OK,” Julie said. “The pediatrician thankfully wanted to do an ultrasound and sent us on to the hospital to have it done.” The...
The Children’s Hospital was like my home in the first years of my life. When I was born in 1979, I was born with one side of my nose blocked and could not go home with my mom. I stayed a few days longer and my mom was sad! She called and would visit and everyone was so nice to her, she said. Then, I had 32 ear infections and tubes in my ears three times. I felt so comfortable with the nurses. Then when I was about 18-months old, there was an epidemic of spinal meningitis. I was hospitalized...
My daughter Tinsley Andrews was born on Dec.8,2004 in Ft.Payne, Alabama. She was born with a bi-lateral cleft palate. We were transferred to Huntsville Hospital for a week and a half because of the difficulties she was having with breathing and feeding. We were then transferred to Children’s for Drs. Boyle, Georgeson, and Grant to work their magic. On January 2, Dr. Boyle and Dr. Georgeson performed Fondoplication and placed a feeding tube into Tinley's stomach. This was the first step toward a...
At a very awkward time and place in my life, Children's taught me that it wasn't so bad to have to take shots several times a day, and that I wasn't any different than any other kid in my class--that along with a lot of smiling and friendly faces, made my disease seem like it wasn't that big of a monster after all. They taught me how to live; without candy and cake but also that I was not alone in my fight. That was my favorite part.
It didn’t add up when Toby Ricard received a failure to thrive diagnosis at his first-ever pediatrician checkup. His mother, Carrie, knew he was eating well, but he was losing too much weight. Toby’s pediatrician referred him to the local hospital for further testing. “They couldn’t find anything wrong, so they sent us home,” Carrie said. “We were terrified, but thankfully our pediatrician kept pushing to get us answers.” At the request of Toby’s pediatrician, Carrie started a thorough log of...
Sometimes a serious illness can come out of nowhere. That was the case for Trevor Moultrie. When he was just 15 months old, his aunt, Cerita, who was babysitting him one day, noticed he was acting lethargic and running a low-grade fever. “He didn’t have a wet diaper that day, so she thought that he might be dehydrated,” said Trevor’s mother, Sherri. “That’s how it all started.” Sherri and her husband, Terrance, met Cerita and Trevor at Children’s of Alabama’s emergency room, where doctors ran...
Trey Vaught’s story is about courage and support, an answered prayer and perfect timing – and how all these things together allowed the Vaught family to feel at ease while Trey was undergoing life-saving treatment at Children’s of Alabama. Trey was born on January 12, 2015, at Princeton Baptist Medical Center in Birmingham. But he was immediately transported to Children’s when doctors detected meconium aspiration (an inflammation of the lungs) when the mother’s water bag broke before...
Trinity's Story By Angela McRae When Trinity McRae was 9 months old in 2001, her knee started swelling and she developed a high fever. I brought her to Children's Hospital and she was admitted with a bone infection. She stayed in the hospital for 2 1/2 weeks and was sent home on a new oral antibiotic. That is significant in the fact that at the same time a friend of mine had a daughter who developed a neck infection. They went to a different area hospital. Her daughter went home with a...
I was induced on August 25, 2005 at 6am. By 4pm that afternoon and 3 1/2 hrs of pushing the Dr. suggests forceps. After a lot of questions and against my better judgment I agreed. This attempt was short lived and I was rushed to the OR for a C-section. Finally he was here, and taken to the NICU. I wasn't allowed much time with him that night and when he was brought to me the next day he was began to have a seizure. Again he was rushed away. He was taken by ambulance to Children’s Hospital in...
Doctor visits, surgeries, and hospitals have been frequent and common for Tucker Wick of Mount Olive, Alabama. In fact, they all started the day he was born in February, 2007. Tucker was born with spina bifida and is paralyzed from the waist down. “When I was 26 weeks pregnant, I went in for a routine doctor’s appointment and my doctor noticed that something seemed wrong,” said Tucker’s mother, Christie. “We didn’t know the level or degree of spina bifida, but we did know he would need...
Seven year old Tyeasha Summers loves Hannah Montana and playing outside. It’s that last part that sometimes gets her into trouble. As a hemophiliac, “normal” bumps, bruises and cuts are anything but. Even a paper cut can be a major concern. It was a paper cut that wouldn’t stop bleeding that caused Donna Summers to take her daughter to the doctor in 2005. Donna has a twelve-year-old son with the disease, but was told that, while girls could carry the gene, they couldn’t be affected by...
Tyjanae suffered a traumatic brain injury after a severe ATV accident in May 2018. The then-15-year-old underwent surgeries at both Children’s of Alabama and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), and now goes to physical and occupational therapy twice a week at Children’s. Through the hospital’s Robotic and Mobility Program (RAMP), Tyjanae has access to the latest computer-driven technology used to treat children and adolescents with physical impairments. Tyjanae’s mother, LaTisha,...
Sixteen-year-old Tykwun Stewart loves sports—particularly basketball and auto racing. When he received his March 2013 kidney transplant he scored a big victory over the kidney disease that often sidelined him from his favorite activities. At around two years of age, Tykwun was diagnosed with Alport Syndrome, a genetic condition that causes kidney damage along with hearing and vision loss. “I would find blood when I changed his diaper. The doctors at Children’s did a kidney biopsy and that’s...
Mention baseball and the thrill of “turning two” to Tyler Davis and you’ll get a big, beautiful smile in return. The Greene County High School rising senior covers second base for the Tigers, plays video games and loves his German shepherds, Django and Lady. And he has sickle cell disease. Like many other children with sickle cell disease, he was diagnosed at birth through routine testing. His first year of life was filled with a number of the pain crises and episodes of chest syndrome so...
Riding the Wave By Tyler's Mom A true lover of baseball, Tyler was RIDING HIGH in the summer of 2005 when he was playing second base in the county baseball tournament and turned an unassisted triple play. The crowd went wild, he got a spot in the local newspaper and then he celebrated his 8th birthday at Turner field in Atlanta watching his favorite major league team, the Braves, play ball. Little did we know how much his life would change within the next year. Fast forward to baseball season,...
There was nothing about her pregnancy that would have alerted Amy Bach to the medical problems of her newborn daughter Virginia. The only clue came a few days later when the little girl started showing symptoms of jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and mucous membranes caused by high levels of bilirubin. Bilirubin is a yellow substance that the body creates when it replaces old red blood cells. Usually, newborn jaundice is not harmful, and if treatment is needed, it is generally quite effective....
Being first time parents we did not know what to expect when we had our first born son Walker. We knew early in the pregnancy that he had fluid on his kidneys. They discovered it while doing an ultrasound around 19 weeks into the pregnancy. The doctor's had told us it could mean several different things, and they needed to monitor it every few weeks until Walker was born. Before we knew it, it was time to welcome Walker into the world. Less than 12 hours after he was born we got a phone call...
Before May 26, 2011, 17-year-old Walker McCain was an all-star cross-country runner for Mountain Brook High School. But the race of his life began on that day after he flipped over the handlebars of his bicycle, slid almost 75 feet and struck his head on a large rock. “I had gone over to a friend’s house that afternoon because my dad had suggested I go running,” Walker recalls. “But I chose to ride my bike instead. The one bad choice I made was walking past two helmets in our basement on the...
Walker Simmons’ battle with leukemia came on quickly. In 2013, the then 2-year-old began exhibiting unexplainable symptoms. “He had a low-grade fever, which didn’t seem concerning, and little spots popping up on his wrists and ankles,” said his mother, Melissa. “The spots looked almost like little bruises.” Before the Simmonses could get Walker to Children’s of Alabama’s Emergency Department, the spots spread. What they didn’t know at the time was that the bruises were symptoms of leukemia....
It was every parent’s worst nightmare. When Ward Webb was only 4 years old, he was outside playing when he came in contact with a live power line and was critically injured. After Ward arrived at Children’s of Alabama, the trauma team worked to resuscitate him from the electrical injury. But even after he was stabilized, his survival remained uncertain. He had suffered third degree burns and would need multiple skin grafts to his head, back and legs. “He was in an induced coma, and his doctor...
Webster Heritage Hello My name is Webster Heritage. Back in 1989 I lived in Demopolis, Alabama. I was sick a lot and missing a lot of school. My mommy and Daddy carried me to a lot of doctors to see if they could find out what was wrong. Well, one of the doctors suggested that I go to Birmingham to see Dr. John Bentley. He was a wonderful doctor who had a lot of patience with me. He found out what was wrong and I was admitted to Children’s Hospital so they could run tests on me and for my...
Wesley Strawbridge of Atmore is a chubby-cheeked toddler who enjoys farm animals, getting his hands dirty and making his toy cars go “Vroom! Vroom!” He loves to eat – his favorite foods are scrambled eggs, cheese and pickled beets. And he’s also excited about becoming a big brother in a few months. To look at him, you would never guess he had ever been sick a day in his life. But when Wesley was born on October 25, 2013, he was diagnosed with a previously undetected birth defect called...
One day my daughter Whitney was complaining of a bad sore throat. We went to see her doctor and they just said that she had tonsillitis and that it would've gone away if she had taken medicine. Later on her throat kept hurting and her tonsils were huge. She was having trouble breathing and she tossed and turned during the night and she would snore so loud. We went to the doctor a few days later and he referred us to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham it was Children’s South. So we went down...
It was October 5, 2007 and I had strep throat a lot. My doctor told me to go to the Children’s Hospital in Birmingham so we were referred there. When we got there I had my tonsils taken out and also my adenoids. I got much better. Since then I have not had strep throat as much as usual. Without Children’s nothing would be improved. GO CHILDRENS BS!
My name is Whitney and I’m 11 years old and here is my story about how I became a patient at Children’s. It was April 15, 2009, and I was doing a back handspring and broke both forearms. I was rushed to Marshall Medical South (MMS) where they had to put both my arms back in place. Then I had to spend the night there when the next week I had a follow-up appointment (APPT). When I went to my follow-up appointment I was referred to Children’s Hospital North in Birmingham to see Dr.Gilbert. On...
Initially, Will Nichols’ stomachache seemed like an ordinary childhood complaint. After all, it was Halloween night 2009, and he had consumed plenty of candy after trick-or-treating through his Mountain Brook neighborhood. To be safe, his parents, Tony and Rosemary, took Will to the emergency room, where doctors believed he was okay. The next day, Tony and Rosemary went ahead with a scheduled business trip. Soon after their plane landed, Rosemary got a call that Will had been taken back to...
Zachary Grice is among Alabama’s most decorated athletes. The 28-year-old Dothan, Alabama, native plays Miracle League Baseball and also plays the sport in the Alabama State Games, the state’s largest annual multi-sport event for youth and adults. He’s a Special Olympic bowler, cyclist and swimmer, coming away with one gold and two silver medals in cycling in the 2014 national games. Zach clinched another three medals in swimming – one gold and two silver – at the Special Olympics World...
When Zachary Grice was born with Down Syndrome, his parents were determined not let his condition limit his life. When he was diagnosed with cancer, his parents turned to the Children’s Hospital staff for support and comfort. Nine years later, Zach is competing in Special Olympics. “I am a senior now, and I am eighteen years old. And I really enjoy that and my friends and family,” he says. Zach loves swimming and earned two gold medals and one silver medal in the Special Olympics. When Zach...
Zachary Woolley of Birmingham has accomplished much in his 27 years. He’s an Oak Mountain High School and Mississippi State University graduate whose passion for civil rights landed him at the Birmingham School of Law, where he’s currently a student. “I want to go into politics in the long run,” said Zach, a strong advocate for the disabled, accessibility and equity. “I want to make a difference on the federal level.” Zach’s advocacy springs from his own experience living with cerebral...
Superheroes come in all shapes and sizes—even in a four-pound preemie. Zadian Palmer was born early, at just over four pounds, on May 6, 2008. “He had some complications, but he was a fighter,” says his mother, Silvia Rice. “He overcame and was able to come home from the hospital after just a few days.” But it was just a short time later that some serious health issues really began to surface. At two months old, he stopped breathing. From that point on, he was in and out of the hospital at...
My name is Marquita Smiley. My son, Zaidan Pitts, had a congenital heart defect known as Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. Since we learned of his condition prenatally, our family was better able to prepare for Zaidan's arrival. The staff at UAB and Children's of Alabama helped us prepare by introducing our family to several members of the cardiology program and by informing us of what to expect following Zaidan's birth. On the day that Zaidan was delivered, conditions were pretty intense. Just...
Zaylan Jones showed signs of delayed development at an early age. At 10 months old, he struggled to walk and talk and sit up on his own. One day, when Zaylan began running a fever, seizing and vomiting, his mother, Linda Swain, rushed him to their local emergency room. Doctors, unable to determine what was going on, sent Zaylan to Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham, but even at Children’s, doctors were unable to give an immediate diagnosis. “Nobody could determine what was...
A persistent case of bronchitis first brought 5-year-old Zoey Bell from her home in Gadsden to see pulmonologists at Children’s of Alabama. “She had had a lot of problems before she was diagnosed and had chronic, recurring bronchitis,” said her mother, Miranda Bell. “We had been battling that for a year and she was really sick.” Doctors in the Pulmonary Medicine Clinic diagnosed Zoey with asthma. “It was a relief to know what was wrong with her,” Bell said. “The doctors and nurses were just...
When 5-year-old Zykeise Miller seemed to always have trouble catching his breath, his mother knew something was wrong. “I could hear him wheezing. We lived in a very old house at the time and had a wood burning heater. In the winter it always seemed much worse. I kept trying to figure out why he was so congested,” Valnecia Fluker said. His doctors at the Children’s of Alabama Primary Care Clinic referred Zykeise to the hospital’s Pulmonary Medicine Clinic where physicians diagnosed Zykeise...