May 15

Healthy Minds, Healthy Kids

May is Mental Health Month. Today, Leah Colburn, Suicide Prevention Coordinator at Intermountain Primary Children's Hospital, shares how you can provide support to a person who has mental health needs. 

What if a child came to you with a pain in their arm? If there is no obvious bruise, cut or bump, you’d ask what happened. You’d listen to their story, give them ice and a hug. You’d sit with them until the tears slowed—but what if it still hurts when they play? Even though you couldn’t see the injury, you’d still know they are hurting and it’s impacting their day, so you would make the choice to take them to the doctor.

When someone is coughing, looks pale, or thinks they may be getting the flu, we accept it and encourage them to rest, take time off work or school, and go to the doctor if it gets worse. We take care of them. We know what to do when our children, family and friends become ill or injured. What if we offered the same support for a person whose brain may not be feeling well?

May 15

Meet Chase: 2019 Family Advocacy Day Champion

Chase is participating at 2019 Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day from June 25-26 in Washington, D.C. During the event, Chase will share information about his health journey and the importance of children’s health care with members of Congress. Below is his story.

Chase is a happy, content teen with a fantastic disposition. He loves to attend school, ride his bike and cheer for his sister’s softball team. He’s a terrific brother and an immense source of pride to his mother.

This 15-year-old was born with Dandy-Walker malformation, a congenital defect that affects his movement, behavior and cognitive ability. After diagnosis, Chase and his family were airlifted from a community hospital to begin treatment at Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock.

Unfortunately, Chase’s current condition is still complex—his neurological conditions have been heightened since he hit puberty. During winter seasons, he also suffers from pneumonia and pulmonary issues. In fact, Chase has needed inpatient care four times in the past six months due to pneumonia.

May 14

Meet Morgan: 2019 Family Advocacy Day Champion

Morgan is participating at 2019 Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day from June 25-26 in Washington, D.C. During the event, Morgan will share information about her health journey and the importance of children’s health care with members of Congress. Below is her story.

Morgan has had a big heart for animals from a very early age. Her pony, Oliver, is her greatest passion! She loves to groom Oliver and has even competed in competitions with her best friend.

At 2 years old, Morgan embarked on a life changing journey that was beyond her years—a battle with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, which leads to severe heart failure.

While waiting for her heart transplant at Medical University of South Carolina Children’s Health (MUSC), Morgan became just the 3rd child  to ever receive the Berlin heart, a type of ventricular assist device to do what Morgan’s heart could not: pump blood throughout her tiny body. With tubes attached to Morgan’s body, the Berlin heart went wherever Morgan went.

May 14

Meet Rowan: 2019 Family Advocacy Day Champion

Rowan is participating at 2019 Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day from June 25-26 in Washington, D.C. During the event, Rowan will share information about her health journey and the importance of children’s health care with members of Congress. Below is her story.

Rowan is a super energetic 4-year-old who loves to cook cheese quesadillas, go horseback riding and swim in the pool. You can always find her laughing and telling jokes, despite the pain she experiences every day.

Rowan was diagnosed with recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa as a newborn, which means that she is missing the “glue” that holds her skin to her body. The surface of her body can blister and shear off leaving wounds like second-degree burns, so Rowan must be bandaged from the neck down to cover wounds and prevent infection.

May 12

Meet Derell: 2019 Family Advocacy Day Champion

Derell is a charming and funny 9-year-old who loves to dance and draw. When Derell was 7, he had trouble staying focused in school and following all the rules. He was repeatedly disciplined for fidgeting, tapping his pencil and talking out of turn. Even worse, he was starting to show signs of depression because of his struggles at school and with his peers.

His mom, Etta, was frustrated too. She was called into school nearly every day because of Derell’s behavior issues. When Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin opened the Midtown Clinic close to her home, Etta jumped at the chance to take her son there. Derell started seeing a Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin pediatrician, and screenings showed that his challenges with attention and self-regulation were contributing to his problems. The team at the Midtown Clinic was called into action right away.

Derell was offered access to the integrated behavioral health program, where pediatricians and behavioral health providers work together as a team to tailor their care specifically to him. Once he was receiving the right care, Derell’s behavior transformed rapidly. His condition progressed quickly as he learned how to positively cope with challenging situations that occur at home and school.

May 11

Meet Jakob: 2019 Family Advocacy Day Champion

Jakob is participating at 2019 Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day from June 25-26 in Washington, D.C. During the event, Jakob will share information about his health journey and the importance of children’s health care with members of Congress. Below is his story.

Looking at Jakob now, you would never know that this little guy has spent majority of his life in the hospital. This 4-year-old warrior has undergone countless surgeries and seen hundreds of doctors, but he still somehow manages to smile and fist bump everyone he meets!

Jakob was diagnosed with an extremely rare genetic disease called microvillus inclusion disease—essentially, his intestines fail to absorb nutrients. At 2-days-old, Jakob failed to thrive. He would not have survived if his parents hadn’t brought him to the hospital in time. Jakob has gone from an extremely sick baby to a vibrant active boy thanks to the help of C.S. Mott’s Children’s Hospital.

May 10

Meet Mya: 2019 Family Advocacy Day Champion

Mya is a kind-hearted, talented 12-year-old from Wyoming. Even though she looks like any ordinary young girl, Mya has been struggling with the intense pain of Crohn’s disease since the age of 10. Crohn’s is an incurable autoimmune disease which causes lesions and inflammation throughout the digestive tract.

Mya receives specialized care at Children’s Hospital of Colorado to improve her symptoms. Her favorite part of treatment is exchanging funny jokes with Dr. Walker. Dr. Walker has been with Mya since her initial diagnosis and always strives to find the best care for her ongoing symptoms and complications.

Being diagnosed at an early age gave Mya a new perspective on life. She began fundraising for Children’s Colorado and became the hospital’s first ambassador from Wyoming. Despite her illness, Mya continues to share videos and speeches about her life on the ranch in Wyoming and overcoming life’s obstacles while pursuing her dreams.

May 09

Meet Javi: 2019 Family Advocacy Day Champion

Meet Javi is participating at 2019 Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day from June 25-26 in Washington, D.C. During the event, Javi will share information about her health journey and the importance of children’s health care with members of Congress. Below is her story.

Javi is a proud Husky at the University of Washington and she loves going to work at REI! If you saw Javi walking around campus today, you might never know that she has spent over 600 days in various hospitals.

Now 21, Javi was diagnosed with general anxiety disorder and high-functioning autism at the age of 14. Even though Javi thought that she would be in inpatient mental health facilities for the rest of her life, she persisted thanks to her supportive family and the Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Unit at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

May 08

Meet Courtney: 2019 Family Advocacy Day Champion

Courtney is participating at 2019 Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day from June 25-26 in Washington, D.C. During the event, Courtney will share information about her health journey and the importance of children’s health care with members of Congress. Below is her story.

Courtney loves playing volleyball, basketball and taking pictures. But these activities wouldn’t be possible without the expert care at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. At 11, Courtney was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis, myasthenia gravis, Cushing’s syndrome and coronary heart disease—but she doesn’t let any of her medical conditions define who she is.

Courtney relies on 15 specialists and looks forward to visiting her rheumatologist, Dr. Brunner, the most. Courtney feels comfortable talking to her—they joke and tell stories to each other which makes visits so much more fun! She tells everyone that Dr. Brunner saved her life when she diagnosed her heart condition and myasthenia gravis.

May 07

Meet Jack: 2019 Family Advocacy Day Champion

Jack is participating at 2019 Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day from June 25-26 in Washington, D.C. During the event, Jack will share information about his health journey and the importance of children’s health care with members of Congress. Below is his story.

Jack has a passion for medicine and science and he’s always eager to learn! You won’t find him playing video games like other kids his age. Instead, this curious 15-year-old likes to watch videos related to what he’s learning in school.

Since Jack has such a positive outlook on life, it’s hard to believe that he was diagnosed with leukemia three years ago. He dealt with the side effects of chemotherapy optimistically, especially during the first year of treatment at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. Because Jack is very sensitive to chemotherapy, the care team at Joe DiMaggio went the extra mile to consult other pediatric oncologists across the country to avoid relapse.

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