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When David and Marisa Kroger found out their son Zack needed skull surgery, they were scared. They wondered if life would ever be the same. Specialists at Cincinnati Children’s performed multiple surgeries to help Zack’s skull and eye muscles develop properly. Today, Zack is 8 years old and doing just fine, thanks to care he received here.
Jaelynn Buffington was born in 2010 with a bilateral complete cleft lip and palate. She had to be fed with a syringe for her first month of life. Specialists at Cincinnati Children’s performed surgeries and fixed her smile. Her mother, Crysta, says it’s nothing short of “amazing.”
Lilly McLane weighed less than 2 pounds when she arrived four months early. She needed surgery at Cincinnati Children’s to repair a bowel perforation. Her first diapers were doll-sized and still too big for her. After four months at Cincinnati Children’s, she grew strong enough to go home. She’s now 3 years old. “The nurses and other staff always had words of encouragement so we could stay strong for our tiny girl,” says her mother, Ashley, who still stays in touch with some of the nurses.
Harrison Curtis was born on March 6, 2008. A routine ultrasound had warned that he had a heart condition. On March 9, Harrison underwent a nine-hour surgery to repair his heart. He spent a month at Cincinnati Children’s recovering. His two older brothers were not allowed in the hospital room during his recovery, so the hospital’s Child Life specialists arranged for them to meet their new brother via webcam. “Today, Harrison is doing great and is under the continued care of the kind people at the Heart Institute at Cincinnati Children’s,” says his mom, Allisha.
Mary Osterfeld was diagnosed with hip dysplasia at 9 months old and needed surgery. Just when she should have been learning to crawl or walk, she had to spend months in a spica cast, then a hip brace. Now 2 years old, those days are a distant memory. She wears a brace only when she sleeps. “She can crawl, walk, run and just learned to jump,” says her mom, Mara.
Peyton Stout was born two months early with such severe complications that doctors told his parents he would not survive. After three months of specialized care at Cincinnati Children’s, Peyton beat the odds. He has been diagnosed with a mild case of cerebral palsy, but he is a thriving 5-year-old. “He walks with assistance and talks non-stop,” says his mom, Katie. “Thank you to all of the wonderful doctors, nurses and therapists at Cincinnati Children’s.”
Austin Haarmeyer had brain surgery in August 2010 to remove a brainstem cavernoma. Doctors discovered it after Austin suddenly lost the use of his right side at 13 months old. His “before” picture was from the day after surgery, when they removed the bandage that they called his “racing hat.” He’s now 3 years old and loves to run and climb. “The surgery was very risky,” says his mom, Paula. “But I am happy to report that Austin is doing great.”
When Holly Danneman was pregnant with her second set of twins, a routine ultrasound revealed complications. One twin, Jake, had developed a near-fatal condition. At 29 weeks, he required immediate surgery to save his life. Twin Jenna was along for the ride. Holly, an emergency medicine physician, says no amount of medical training could have prepared her and her husband, Jim, for the family’s medical journey. Nine years later, Jake is an athlete. Jenna is a scholar and a dancer. They’re the middle children in a pack of six kids. “Not a day goes by that I don’t think of how blessed we are,” their mother says.
In January 2007, Evan Perez had the last of four surgeries to keep him from having any more ear infections. Multiple infections had impaired his hearing, and he had a speech delay. The surgeries allowed him to hear like a typical child, and he graduated from the speech therapy program two years ago. At 12, he has a great vocabulary, hears well and is captain of his baseball team. “Nothing compares in Cincinnati, or anywhere, to the service we had at Cincinnati Children’s,” says his mom, Laura. Today, Evan is 11 years old and glad to be healthy.
Katelynn Pottebaum’s arrival eight weeks early was fraught with complications. Katelynn’s underdeveloped lungs made it hard for her to absorb oxygen, and care givers at her birth hospital said there was nothing else they could do. But to everyone’s amazement, Katelynn held on. Nurses at Cincinnati Children’s slowly weaned her off oxygen so she could breathe on her own, and before long, she was able to go home. “The exit from the hospital was bittersweet,” says her mother, Christina. “We are forever indebted to every single person who came into contact with Katelynn. I swore at that moment we’d never forget Children’s and what they did for us.”
His parents thought Austin Claytor just had a cough when they took him to the doctor in 2009. It turned out to be a staph infection that nearly wiped out his airway and lungs. Doctors placed him on an artificial lung machine. There were moments when his family wondered if he would ever recover. But he pulled through. He had to relearn how to walk and talk, but today he is getting ready for junior high. He loves hunting and fishing and is back to playing sports again. “We really don’t notice much difference in him,” says his dad, Otis, “other than he is super strong.”
Chase Daisey was a healthy 1-year-old when he was admitted to the hospital after battling a fever for several days. An infection that had started in his throat turned into an abscess and infected his lymph nodes. He needed two surgeries and a two-week stay at the hospital. “I remember wondering how we ended up there,” says his mom, Julie. “But we knew we were in the right place. The healing that happens inside these walls is powerful. The people are amazing. We will never forget our time here and those who touched our lives.”
Anna Birck was born in December 2002 with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia, a life-threatening birth defect that causes respiratory distress. She had surgery at Cincinnati Children’s three days after birth. “We brought her home on Christmas Eve, the best gift we could have wished for that Christmas,” says her mom, Jane. Anna is now a happy, healthy 9-year-old.
Jane Roberts spent her first year in and out of Cincinnati Children’s for heart surgeries to correct a series of congenital heart defects. “Being told she probably wouldn’t survive was devastating,” says her mom, Andrea. “Seeing her pull through four open-heart surgeries, months of hospital stays and years of therapy was amazing.” Today, she is 9 years old and perfectly healthy. As a third-grader, she had the reading level and comprehension of a ninth-grader. The family’s “before” picture is of Jane connected to lots of tubes and monitors. Today, her family can hug her much more easily.
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