Andrew Laury, 17, accepts the Marcia K. Wilcox Scholarship Award from Driscoll Children's Hospital Auxiliary president Nancy Gunter (center) and assistant treasurer Marihelen Boyd on Thursday at Driscoll Children's Hospital.
Entering Calallen High School, Andrew Laury envisioned himself spending his Friday nights under the bright lights of a football field like so many Texas students his age. Then, just weeks into his freshman year, Andrew began experiencing seizures, including 14 in a single day. A trip to Driscoll Children's Hospital revealed Andrew had a brain tumor.
After surgery and a year of chemotherapy and radiation, Andrew finally was on the football field last week, but this time he donned a graduation cap and gown instead of a helmet and shoulder pads. Now, he's headed to Wharton County Junior College thanks in part to the Auxiliary to Driscoll Children's Hospital's Marcia K. Wilcox Scholarship Award. Andrew and Rockport-Fulton High School graduate Denali Huff each received the scholarship, which is named after a devoted Driscoll Children's Hospital volunteer and is given to students who are former or current Driscoll oncology patients.
The Driscoll Auxiliary also gives out the Clara Driscoll Spirit Scholarship, which is awarded to some of the hospital's student volunteers. On Thursday afternoon, Driscoll Auxilians held a reception to honor all the scholarship recipients in the Residents Conference Room at the hospital.
"It's going to pay for most of my college, so I can have a better future," said Andrew, who will celebrate his 18th birthday June 13. "I've been through some rough times, but now I can go to college, which will help me get a solid job with pay and benefits and will allow me to be a successful person and hopefully help kids like myself in the future."
When he was declared cancer-free before his junior year and moved to Van Vleck, Andrew held out hopes of playing high school football as a senior. He didn't end up being cleared for physical contact, but that didn't stop him from being a competitor in the classroom.
"He was an immense pleasure to teach in class," Van Vleck High School English teacher Jonathan Lunsford said. "His positive attitude is definitely infectious and increases his ability to work with and motivate his fellow classmates."
Andrew attributes that positive attitude to the support he received both in his community and at Driscoll Children's Hospital. Andrew lived in Corpus Christi and attended Calallen Middle School and Calallen High School before moving to Van Vleck after his sophomore year.
"The powerful strength in a small community in Calallen that rallied together to support me, and the support I received at Driscoll was unbelievable," Andrew said. "The hospital has an amazing staff that deals with illness daily, but still had a smile and strong words of encouragement to help me make it through my journey. I was never alone."
Marcia K. Wilcox Scholarship Recipients
Denali Huff, Rockport-Fulton High School
Andrew Laury, Van Vleck High School
Clara Driscoll Spirit Scholarship Recipients
Anushka Bhowal, Carroll
Paige Comstock, Ray
Victoria Gonzales, Tuloso-Midway
Brittany Kellogg, Tuloso-Midway
Hannah Perez, Carroll
Gabrielle Jade L. Redublo, Redublo Academy/Home School
Anissa M. Trevino, Carroll
Ruby Trevino, Collegiate HS
Hospital's patients to have signing for Christmas book they created
October 13, 2014
Allison Shaffer is a burgeoning young writer, but she already knows the key to being a great author - create stories that come from personal experience. That's what the 17-year-old former Driscoll Children's Hospital patient did when she wrote "Tiny, The Small Christmas Tree," a Christmas book written by Shaffer and illustrated by 10 different Driscoll patients.
Shaffer and the young illustrators will have a book signing at 3 p.m. Monday, Oct. 13 at Driscoll Children's Hospital. The book is on sale for $5 at the hospital's Carousel Gift Shop and through Driscoll's web site (www.driscollchildrens.org) with proceeds going to the Auxiliary to Driscoll Children's Hospital.
Allison is a second-born twin, who weighed just two pounds at birth and spent the first 63 days of her life in the Driscoll Children's Hospital Neonatal Intensive-Care Unit. At four years old, Allison was diagnosed with mild cerebral palsy, which mainly affects her left leg. She had surgeries at ages 4 and 13 to help her walk more normally.
"After the surgeries, she had to learn to walk again, basically," said Wendy Shaffer, Allison's mother. "She's been a trooper through it all."
"Tiny, The Small Christmas Tree," is a story with which Allison can relate. In the book, Allison writes of an abnormally small Christmas tree that none of the children want to play around. Eventually the tree adapts and uses its strengths to become just as popular as the other Christmas trees.
"I came up with the story when I was a kid," Allison said. "I really was kind of a loner in a way, so I drew back on personal experience as a child. I thought back to when I was a kindergartner and I went from there. Once I got into writing mode, it really just took me one night to write it. The story just came easily to me."
Like the story's Tiny, Allison has conquered the mental aspect of her disease.
"I'm very blessed to have mild cerebral palsy," said Allison, whose family moved away from Corpus Christi when she was four and is currently a junior at College Station's A&M Consolidated High School. "I have to work a little harder than other kids. I have to do stretches and things like that to keep my legs relaxed and flexible so I'm able to walk more normally, but it all has strengthened my pride and made me tougher. I don't look at this as being a curse at all. I wouldn't change anything. It's all been a blessing."
Allison is a confident young lady, who already is working on writing a novel. However, she admits to being nervous about being the center of attention at her first book signing.
"I'm very nervous, but very excited that I get to do that," Allison said. "It means a lot to be able to do something like this for Driscoll Children's Hospital, which has helped me so much since I was a baby.
TINY, THE SMALL CHRISTMAS TREE'S ILLUSTRATORS
Brooke Hester, 7, Corpus Christi
Jonah Vargas, 5, Corpus Christi
Claribel Garcia, 6, Corpus Christi
Maden Rivera, 3, Corpus Christi
Kendra Amy, 3, Corpus Christi
Vivian Wrinkle, 6, Corpus Christi
Joshua Miller, 4, Robstown
Gianna Veliz, 6, Odem
Enrique Garcia, 12, Corpus Christi
Sean Hoover, 12, Austin
Pair of Driscoll physicians makes prestigious Texas Monthly list
August 22, 2014
Driscoll Children's Hospital physicians Amy Becker, MD, and Jon Roberts, MD, FCCP, were featured in the July issue of Texas Monthly in its list of Texas Super Doctors: Rising Stars Edition 2014. The publishers of Texas Monthly and MSP Communications released the list of Texas Rising Stars, calling them "the physicians who are trusted and sought out by colleagues for medical care." The doctors were selected by their peers and verified by the Key Professional Media research staff.
Dr. Becker and Dr. Roberts both joined Driscoll Children's Hospital three years ago. Dr. Becker is a pediatric nephrologist and is certified in general pediatrics and pediatric nephrology by the American Board of Pediatrics. Dr. Roberts, who also is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics, is a pediatric pulmonologist.
MSP Communications asked more than 40,000 medical professionals in the state to nominate doctors they would choose when seeking medical care for themselves. The research team identified newer doctors who have been fully licensed for 10 years or less. Only 2.5 percent of all active Texas physicians are selected to the Texas Rising Stars list.