At Dayton Children's, our patient stories are what make us who we are. Whether they come through our doors with a broken bone or for chemotherapy, each of their stories are unique and special. They are stories of hope and determination. Stories of love and care. We invite you to take the time and read about some of our patients or visit our Youtube channel to see their videos. We can guarantee you will be inspired and encouraged by their stories.
Back to baseball after brain surgery
Cameron Caldwell is 11 years old. His idol is Starlin Castro who plays short stop for the Chicago Cubs. His secret weapon in baseball is his slow pitching style. His favorite subject is math. He has a little brother named Caleb. To anyone who meets him, he seems like any other kid his age: smart, talkative, in love with baseball. What most people don’t know about Cameron is the sport he loves so much almost killed him.
The patient experience expert
Kelsey Colins, 16, from Bellbrook was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age four.Since her diagnosis Kelsey has worked with physicians at Dayton Children’s to help manage her diabetes by controlling her insulin intake and her dietary needs. Today Kelsey is seen by Moira Pfeifer, MD in the endocrinology clinic at Dayton Children’s. Recently Kelsey was also diagnosed with hyperthyroidism as well as Addison’s disease. As a frequent flyer of the hospital, Kelsey also works with Dayton Children’s physician Gregory Toussaint, MD, to help teach medical students what it means to be a good doctor from the patient’s perspective.
Meghan Mays, 17, from Centerville was diagnosed with scoliosis at age six and began seeing Mike Albert, MD, orthopaedic surgeon at Dayton Children’s. After nine years of wearing different back braces to try to fix the problem it was decided that Meghan would need surgery. Her back had gone from a 20 degree curve to 54 degrees. Dr. Albert performed spinal surgery on Meghan in December 2011 and placed two rods and 16 screws in her back to straighten her spine. Today Meghan is standing a little taller and is extremely active in cross country and working at multiple part-time jobs. Meghan wants to be a nurse when she grows up because of the amazing care the nurses at Dayton Children’s gave her while she was here.
A true inspiration
Kristopher Rodgers, 13, from Springfield has been living with a diagnosis of cystic fibrosis (CF) since he was 6-months-old.Since then he has been seen in the pulmonary clinic at Dayton Children’s in order to manage this lifelong condition. As a young child Kristopher spent many days as an inpatient at Dayton Children’s but today has gone seven years without having to be admitted. Kristopher has matured quickly and has learned how to manage and perform treatments for his CF on his own. Even though CF often makes it difficult for Kristopher to breathe sometimes he has not let this stand in his way. Kristopher recently began taking karate lessons and is already on his way to his purple belt!
A young philanthropist
Kayleigh Crabtree, 11, from Beavercreek was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on August 20, 2010. Kayleigh underwent five rounds of chemotherapy under the care of Mukund Dole, MD at Dayton Children’s. Kayleigh is a true philanthropist at heart and has helped to raise tens of thousands of dollars for pediatric cancer research during her battle with the disease. Kayleigh completed her last round of chemo in fall 2012 and is excited to be an ambassador so that she can help other kids at Dayton Children’s!
Katie Hollingsworth, a senior at National Trail High School in New Paris, is one of
the top students in her class and survived multiple organ failure due to cancer. A child life specialist at Dayton Children’s helped Katie set up an online blog to stay in touch with her friends during the 264 days she spent at Dayton Children’s. These excerpts are her story of courage, hope and survival.
Meet the cast of “The World of Hope”
How children deal with chronic illnesses, such as cancer, is completely different than adults. To shine a light on how children fight the battle of cancer, Dayton Children’s created “The World of Hope,” a video that showcases how children use their vivid imaginations in a world of make believe to cope with living in a world of chemotherapy, radiation and staying for weeks in a hospital.
Basketball player slam-dunks sports-induced asthma
Kristen Stryker never thought she had asthma, she
just assumed she was tired during basketball, until she
collapsed one day during practice. Kristen, a sophomore at
Franklin Monroe High School, is a starter for junior varsity
basketball and is also a pitcher for varsity softball. But two
years ago, she noticed she was short of breath during practice.
Every breath you take
One little boy fights a lifelong battle to breathe as a result of 22q deletion syndrome.
Recovering by leaps and bounds
Rachael Hayes, a seventh grader, is still on the road to her dreams of becoming a professional dancer, even after major knee surgery.
The World of Hope
In their World of Hope, the kids aren’t fighting cancer - they imagine themselves as a cowboy fighting bandits and a knight slaying the dragon. They aren’t taking chemotherapy or having an MRI - they are a princess with a magic potion and an astronaut going into the healing space. Take a moment to visit the World of Hope where you will meet four young heroes from our community who are battling cancer.
31 days to a miracle
Ethan came to Dayton Children’s in January 2010 and was diagnosed with an extremely rare virus called viral myositis with rhabdomyolysis. Ethan spent 31 days at Dayton Children’s. During this time he was unable to walk and had to be placed on dialysis. He spent 19 of those days in the pediatric intensive care unit fighting for his life. Read more about Ethan's story to see what happened.
A long and winding road to remission
At age 14 Katie was diagnosed with acute myelocytic leukemia (AML). AML is a form of leukemia that is not very common in children and has only 40 percent survival odds. Katie began seeing Dr. Broxson and underwent five rounds of chemotherapy. She faced a number of other complications throughout her treatments which required her to stay in the pediatric intensive care unit at Dayton Children’s. Today Katie is in remission from her cancer and is a happy and energetic teenager.
Taking control of a chronic disease
Awo was born with sickle cell anemia. Sickle cell disease is an inherited disorder in which red blood cells (which are normally round and flexible), are sticky, hard and shaped like crescent moons. Due to her sickle cell, Awo often experiences a lot of pain in her joints and bones. Awo sees Dr. Dole in the hematology and oncology clinic at Dayton Children’s. Despite her illness, Awo has a very positive outlook on life and doesn’t let her sickle cell slow her down.
Never slowing down
Justin was born with spina bifida, a birth defect that involves the incomplete development of the spinal cord or its coverings. Since birth Justin has had over thirty surgeries and has seen 14 different specialties at Dayton Children’s. Even though his condition has required him to be on crutches or in a wheelchair, Justin is still extremely active. He has tried almost every sport that he could including soccer and baseball, but his real love is basketball. He also plays the French horn in his school’s band.
The right specialists all the time
Sara and Todd Cutter of Liberty Township were typical of first-time parents until the unexpected happened. Two days after Amelia was born, doctors discovered the baby had a rapid heartbeat and needed specialized care. Amelia was transported to Dayton Children's Regional Level III B Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Make the right choice when choosing a NICU
Crystal and Chris Crane of New Lebanon are researchers--not as professionals, but as parents. And when Crystal found out they were expecting twins, both wanted to be as prepared as possible. They knew there was a chance their twins would come early, so Chris researched area hospitals to determine which were best prepared to care for premature babies if that care was needed.
A world full of sounds- 20 years later
In 1991, Ashley Sorensen was one of the first patients to ever receive the cochlear implant allowing her to go from a world of silence to a world full of new sounds. Over 20 years later, Ashley is still benefiting from her implants. Her successful surgery at Dayton Children's has inspired her to go on to school to become a hearing aid specialist.
Family taking care of family
When her 7-year-old daughter Paige started feeling poorly in May 2008, Jill Lord didn’t think too much about it. But when the flu-like symptoms persisted for a few more weeks, she was worried. Paige was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a cancer affecting the white blood cells and began treatment at Dayton Children's.
Never underestimate a fall
Erin Bruner, 14, never thought that one basketball game would change the whole course of her eighth grade year. However after suffering from a concussion during one of her games, Erin would go on to have a severe headache for nearly six months.
Avenego and Emma Hernandez do not speak a word of English. However, thanks to interpreters, this has never prevented them from getting first-class medical care for their son, Benjamin, 4, right here in Dayton, Ohio.
When the unexpected happens - Newborn Intensive Care Unit
Kelly Watts had a completely normal pregnancy. On March 2, 2011 she gave birth at Miami Valley Hospital to a beautiful 10-pound baby girl, Ryleigh. She never expected that two weeks later her precious newborn would be in the Regional Level III Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Dayton Children’s.
A Special Day Takes a Traumatic Turn
A surprise Memorial Day 2011 trail ride at Englewood Reserve quickly turns tragic for Olivia Fowler. Fortunately, the Soin Pediatric Trauma and Emergency Center was just moments away.
Changing Habits Out of Love
In April 2009, 8-year-old Ghiman McKinney’s pediatrician was concerned because he was gaining more than ten pounds each year and already weighed 105 pounds.
Small in Size, BIG in Personality and Heart
Kaitlyn Dove, 12, has had more medical complications in her life than most people could even imagine having. Even with multiple heart and lung conditions as well as a variety of other complications, Kaitlyn continues to have a positive outlook on life and always wants to help others.
Never Asks "Why Me?" - A Spinal Cord Surgery Success Story
Patrick Bleser, 16, has spent his whole life in and out of Dayton Children’s for vast medical issues and has been through eight surgeries, but you wouldn’t know it talking to him. Patrick doesn't let his medical problems dictate his life but rather goes into each day with a positive attitude and his stellar smile!
Seeing Life Differently - Dayton Children's Cancer Center
At the age of 5 months, Colin Beach was diagnosed with a rare malignant tumor in the retina of his eye. Despite the severity of his disease and the number of surgeries he has needed – his parents stopped counting after 30 – Colin, now 10 years old, has learned to accept it as part of his life.
A Fighting Spirit
Hanna Katherine Ying Lebamoff has been amazing her mother and the care team at Dayton Children's since she was adopted by Mary Chellis Lebamoff in 2006.
Happy-Go-Lucky Little Miracle
The mother of Gabrielle Smelko, now seven years old, was told her newborn daughter had a slim-to-none chance at living. Gabrielle was diagnosed with a diaphragmatic hernia which also included the need for a tracheal tube and a Gtube. She is a happy little girl, but without the help of Medicaid her mother says it would not have been possible.
Not So Sweet Summer
Ken Luke, an 18-year-old from Beavercreek, has taken charge of his diabetes.
What We Never Expected - Pediatric Cancer
At just two years old, Donovan Trentham's routine evaluation appointment turned out to be a visit that no parent or child would want to experience; he was diagnosed with stage three neuroblastoma. With immediate treatment and care, Donovan is now cancer free two years later.
An Accidental Summer Burn
Owen Sanford, ten-years-old, suffered from a serious in home burn that took place on their treadmill. After his parents arrived home to discover his devastating burns, they rushed him to Dayton Children's where treatment was addressed quickly.
Scoliosis Surgery to Senior
In 2009, Shirray Burnside had been diagnosed with scoliosis and was quickly scheduled a surgery date to correct her spinal curve. After a summer long recovery, Shirray now enjoys a typical and active senior year.
Seen and Heard
What families are saying about the care they receive at Dayton Children's.
Comfort Alleviated the Uncontrollable
Nine month old, Selah Knopp was rushed to the hospital when her father Joe found her suffering from a spiked fever and uncontrollable chills. Selah’s parents were greeted with calming spirits and control while she was treated immediately at the hospital.
The miracle of a premature
Mandie Yannitti's routine pregnancy visit turned into a Cesarean section birth of her son Carmine, at just 26 weeks. With a 15 percent survival at birth, three and a half months later, Carmine was allowed to go home where he now weighs a happy and healthy baby. Carmine has also been recognized as the smallest baby ever cared for at Dayton Children's NICU.
Strived for strength, thriving at life
On Christmas Day 2008, Immanuel Vaughn was born at just 26 weeks. Through continuous care and difficult decisions, Immanuel was considered a “Miracle in Progress” during his stay at the hospital. Now, Immanuel is an energetic toddler keeping his parents busy.
Teen Hurdles Through Her Disease
At an early age, Taylor Bush was diagnosed with a moderate stage of cystic fibrosis. Dealing with the daily struggles has become part of her routine and regardless of her condition she is active in track, onstage productions, and gaining a love for animals.
Poster Children for Awareness
Sydney and Antonio Copher have been selected to share the title of Ohio Sickle Cell and Health Association for 2009-2011 as their Ohio Poster Children. These two siblings represent the sickle cell community and gain on-going opportunities through promoting awareness for their disease.
Cancer Remission Drives His Inspiration
Since 1997, Michael Dosedel has been in remission from a stage four, rare muscle cancer which was found in 1996. Being in remission has inspired Michael to start a non-profit organization and to one day become an orthopedic surgeon or diagnostician.
A Tumor to Live and Grow With
After finding a tumor on Emily Staggs pituitary gland, doctors soon determined during surgery that the tumor was fortunately benign, however inoperable. Emily undergoes several routine treatments and check-ups, but happily continues to live an active, 13-year-old life.
From Sickle Cell to Spotlight
Shayla Ellington was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia at an early age, but has left her with no excuses as to making astonishing accomplishments in her life. Along with consistently receiving top grades, Shayla also enjoys being the center of attention and has high hopes of becoming an R&B singer one day.
Guardian Angel to the Rescue
A fall from the monkey bars and a CT scan later, Abigail Kurdin learned that she had a rare malformation, probably present since birth, at the base of her brain. Since the surgery, Abigail has a positive outlook on life and places a special value on showing off her scar left by the surgery.
Not your Typical Teenager
At just 13-years old, Kyle Crawford was diagnosed with Type I diabetes. After a visit with their family doctor, he was quickly admitted to Dayton Children's to treat and learn the process of managing his diabetes. Now, at 15-years old, he knows how to control his illness and has achieved living an active teenage life.
Tough Times Calls for Strength and Spirit
As a newborn, Chardanai White was diagnosed with sickle cell disease and as anyone would be her parents were shocked to found out the news. A few years later Chardanai was also diagnosed with von Willebrand disease and a blood disorder called Beta Thalassemia. Despite her illness, Chardanai manages her diseases and tries to live a community active childhood.
It's Cool to Tell My Story!
Bailey Allen is an active girl involved in dance, soccer, softball, and basketball; concealing that fact that she even had cancer. At just six weeks old, Bailey was diagnosed with a cancer called congenital fibrosarcoma, which left her parents devastated as her right leg may have had to be amputated.
Grew Four Inches in One Day - A Spinal Surgery Success Story
In 2008, Burr Simpson underwent a six and a half surgery to correct a curvature in his spine due to kyfosis and scoliosis. A week after his surgery, Burr left the hospital standing tall, proud and a success as being the first patient in the country to have underwent this procedure.
Fighting the Bad Guys
Continuous complaints of leg pain, and the return of the Ormsby’s 2006 family vacation changed their lives as Nathan Ormsby was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, a common childhood cancer. Now, three years later he continues his tough treatment, but has also continued to show a positive attitude towards life.
A Family Deals, Three at a Time
Non-stop crying and struggling to eat, Adrianna Scott was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at just six months old; then at just two years old, Adrianna’s twin sisters were also diagnosed. Despite their challenges as a family, Adrianna especially has learned to not let cystic fibrosis prevent her from accomplishing her goals.
A Walking Miracle
When Mitchell Franzer was diagnosed with spina bifida at birth, his family was told he would never walk. With constant training and a positive attitude, Mitchell proved them wrong.
Small but Mighty
Layla Musgrove was born prematurely at 1 lb. 2 oz. with fluid in her brain, and needing heart and eye surgeries. Despite a scary beginning for Layla’s family, together they fought through for a happy ending.
Nothing Will Keep Him from College
Justin Ferrene was born 11 weeks early and diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 10 months. Despite many obstacles, Justin is determined to graduate from college and follow his dream to be a teacher.
Beating Brain Cancer Every Step of the Way
When 11-year-old Casey Mowen was diagnosed with brain cancer, he was more concerned with making the grade and playing soccer than losing his hair. But with a brave attitude, Casey came out on top- both in the classroom and in life.