Meet Kimberly: 2021 Family Advocacy Week Champion
Kimberly is participating in Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Week from June 13-18, 2021. Through this event, Kimberly and her family will discuss her health journey, Children’s Specialized Hospital’s role in providing Kimberly with necessary health care services, and why the public and our elected officials must invest in the future of patients like Kimberly.
At 21, nasal discharge became a persistent issue for Kimberly. At first it was chalked up to allergies, however, antihistamines provided no relief. She was then admitted to the emergency room for additional testing.
Doctors at Hackensack University Hospital ultimately determined Kimberly had a cerebral spinal fluid leak. They identified a hole in the membrane surrounding her spinal cord allowing fluid to escape causing the nasal discharge, headaches, and back pain. Kimberly’s doctors also discovered a flattened pituitary gland and diagnosed her with empty sella syndrome.
After five brain surgeries at Morristown Medical Center, Kimberly needed specialized therapy to regain muscle control, and learn how to walk and talk again. She was transferred to Children’s Specialized Hospital in September 2020 where she received intensive neurological, physical, speech and occupational therapy to help her heal.
As an avid writer, Kimberly journaled daily. Her writing was therapeutic and helped her remain positive and confident throughout the healing process. After a month, Kimberly regained her strength and got to go home.
Despite her health struggles, Kimberly is planning to walk across the stage at her commencement ceremony in May and will complete her sports management degree in August.
Currently, Kimberly has completed her physical and occupational therapy. She hopes to complete the neuro rehabilitation and speech therapy in June.