A Walking Miracle

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Mitchell Franzer, 2009-2010 ambassador

Mitchell Franzer was born September 15, 1997 to delighted parents Bill and Sandy Franzer. Sandy had a healthy pregnancy, yet when she delivered Mitchell doctors noticed immediately something was wrong.

Mitchell was diagnosed with spina bifida. This was a shock to the Franzer family, but they had to focus on finding the best care for their son. Mitchell was transported to The Children’s Medical Center of Dayton just hours after he was born.

“When Mitchell was transported to Dayton Children’s so many questions were racing through our minds. One of the nurses comforted us and answered our questions. Her daughter also has spina bifida and she gave us hope that Mitchell would be OK,” says Bill.

Mitchell spent 21 days at Dayton Children’s Regional Level III Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU). “We were overwhelmed with taking care of a sick infant but the nurses and doctors were so caring,” says Sandy.

When Mitchell was just a baby, the doctors shared their concerns that Mitchell will likely never be able to walk on his own. He would be confined to a wheelchair indefinitely.

“It was difficult to receive the news that your son will not be able to walk, but Dayton Children’s gave us the tools to work with Mitchell to make him stronger.” Sandy worked with Mitchell constantly by doing the exercises they learned at Dayton Children’s. At 16 months old, Mitchell took his first step.

Mitchell is seen in the myelomeningocele clinic at Dayton Children’s which specializes in neural tube defects and related disorders. He is also seen in the physical and occupational therapy departments so he can gain strength in his muscles. Through all of his hard work, Mitchell has come a long way from the days when the doctors said he would never be able to walk.

Donald Nguyen, MD, is a urologist at Dayton Children’s and he and Mitchell have become close. Last October, Mitchell was admitted to Dayton Children’s because his bladder had ruptured, and Dr. Nguyen was there to take care of Mitchell.

“Mitchell has been through several major operations yet he has maintained a positive outlook on life,” says Dr. Nguyen.

“We have so much faith in Dr. Nguyen and he has been great with Mitchell,” says Sandy.

“Dr. Nguyen gives us his time to explain and answer our questions. That does not happen at every hospital and this is why Dayton Children’s is so unique,” says Bill.

Mitchell is now 11 years old and attends St. Henry Middle School in St. Henry, Ohio. He loves to play sports and dreams of being a farmer one day. When Mitchell is not working on his homework, he enjoys watching Ohio State Football, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Bull Riding.

According to Sandy, “After everything we have been through, Dayton Children’s is the only place we will ever go.”



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