Aldo Vasquez, 2 year-old from Brownsville, Texas
June 16, 2008
Aldo's parents were very excited about their first pregnancy but at only three months gestation, birth defects were detected. His parents were referred to pediatric Geneticist, Dr. Raymond Lewandowski and subsequent to a few analyses, Aldo was scheduled to be transferred to DCH immediately after his birth. Diagnosed with Gastroschisis (where his intestines were outside his body) when he was born, the Neonatologists at DCH had to perform a procedure over a period of time to repair a defect in the abdominal wall and prevent infections. Aldo went through many surgeries, procedures, and treatments during his 9 month stay at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Nevertheless, Aldo became one of the most popular kids in the unit for his playful personality and was able to leave the NICU as a healthy child. Today, he continues his follow up visits every three months with Driscoll's Gastroenterologist in the DCH Harlingen clinic, and as a joyful child, Aldo enjoys playing the accordion, guitar, and loves playing soccer.
Sarah, 6-year-old from Petronila, Texas
May 29, 2008
Sarah was born premature at 4 pounds 12 ounces, and immediately transferred to Driscoll's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. During her 42-day stay, she underwent surgery to correct gastroschesis, a condition where part of her intestines were outside her body. Since then, she has also had numerous surgeries to correct her severe club feet.
Andrew, 4 years-old from Corpus Christi, Texas
May 28, 2008
Before birth, Andrew was diagnosed with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia. The hole in the muscle that separates the chest from the abdominal cavity allowed some of his organs normally found in the abdomen to move up into his chest cavity. Cardiothoracic surgeons, Dr. Mark Morales and Dr. Mark Bielefield, repaired the hole when Andrew was just 10 days old. Today, Andrew is happy and healthy and loves to eat pizza, his favorite food!
Hayden, 5 year-old from Victoria, Texas
May 28, 2008
After a trip to the Emergency Room, surgeon Dr. Stephen Almond diagnosed Hayden with Hirschsprung's disease, a hereditary birth defect where nerve cells in the large intestine wall do not develop. A lack of nerves controlling the muscles that push food and digestive waste through the large intestine can cause part of the colon to die leading to infection and inflammation. After five major surgeries and lengthy stays in Driscoll's Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Hayden is now taking life by the horns!
Jon, 1 year-old from Alice, Texas
May 28, 2008
Carla, a nurse, noticed bruises all over her son, Jon. Pediatric Oncologist Judith Mullins diagnosed the baby with severe aplastic anemia, a rare disorder that occurs when bone marrow stops making enough blood forming stem cells resulting in low red, white, and platelets blood counts. If left untreated, it can rapidly result in death. After undergoing several months of treatment, Jon is now a toddler on the go!
Madilyn, 1 year-old from Corpus Christi, Texas
May 28, 2008
During a fetal echocardiogram, Madilyn's mom found out she had a severe heart defect including holes between her upper and lower chambers. When she was 2-weeks-old, cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Mark Morales performed open heart surgery to repair the holes. Although there are additional procedures in her future, she currently enjoys spending time with her big sister.
Jayleen, 2 year-old from Corpus Christi, Texas
February 06, 2008
Keep on walking! Jayleen was born with Spina Bifida and had to be transferred to DCH where within an hour, pediatric neurosurgeon, Dr. Michael Burke, performed a surgery to repair her spine. Her recovery took much specialized care but after 2 weeks she was able to go home to spend time with her family. Subsequently, a couple of weeks later, she came back for a second surgery with Dr. Burke to insert a shunt that would help release her spinal fluid properly in her head as it was accumulating on one side. Her mom believes that taking this early action really made a difference in Jayleen's development. Working vigorously towards her recovery, Jayleen at six months came back for a 3rd surgery, this time with pediatric orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Roger Timperlake to repair a clubfoot deformity. She continues to visit her doctors at the Orthopaedics and Neurology clinic and has been doing therapy at home and DCH. Her family feels so grateful for everything Dr. Burke and her other doctors have done because now Jayleen is able to walk without assistance, something that usually isn't anticipated for this diagnosis. Today, Jayleen is enjoying her walks in the park, playing with her toys, and coloring her books.
Rediet, 6-year-old from Laredo, Texas
January 23, 2008
Rediet was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as a toddler while living in her home country of Ethiopia. She moved to an orphanage after her biological mother passed away. Pediatric endocrinologists Stephen Ponder and Jennifer Amaral recently prepared her adoptive parents to care for her and her condition. Her new family learned how to administer insulin shots, count carbohydrates, and plan meals. Today, Rediet is an active 6-year-old playing with dolls and coloring.
Billy 2 year-old from Freer, Texas
November 13, 2007
Billy, "BJ," was diagnosed with Wilm's tumor in the summer of 2006 after his father noticed one side of his stomach was harder than the other. BJ underwent surgery to remove the tumor and a kidney, and soon after began receiving weekly outpatient chemotherapy at Driscoll Children's Hospital. His Pediatric Oncologist, Dr. Dragutin Loncar, Pediatric Surgeon, Dr. Stephen Almond, and DCH pediatric staff helped comfort BJ and his family during this emotional experience. Throughout his nine day stay, BJ felt like he was "home" with all of the attention he received from many at DCH. Upon his leave, BJ's family felt strong and experienced enough to take him back to Freer where he currently resides. BJ just recently lost his hair from the chemotherapy but it does not seem to slow him down. He is an adorable boy who is big for his young age. At home, BJ enjoys jumping and playing with his older brother and sister.
Caleb, 5 year-old from Corpus Christi, Texas
November 13, 2007
Working smarter, not harder! Since his birth, Caleb had been a healthy normal child, but at 15 months of age his mom had to take him to see the doctor worried because he started panting like he had asthma. After a few tests and discovering that his sugar was so high, Caleb was diagnosed with Diabetes Type I. It was a tough moment for the family but at the same time they felt confident and peaceful for the superb education and wonderful support they received at Driscoll. The staff at the Diabetes clinic was very patient with them and has helped everyone in the family to get involved with Caleb's treatment, allowing them to manage situations through education. Caleb's mom decided to share their experience in hope to encourage others who have tragic dilemmas and let them know that with hope and faith you can overcome anything. Caleb now visits the clinic for three-month check-ups with the pediatric Endocrinologist and to talk to the dietitians. Currently he is playing soccer and keeps himself busy and active.