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Alicia's Story


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Ronald McDonald House, WA

Eleven-year-old Alicia was at school in Anchorage, Alaska, one day when she got a headache. When it became worse, she was taken to a hospital where a CAT scan revealed bleeding in her brain, requiring immediate surgery. That night, doctors removed a five centimeter tumor and diagnosed her with cancer.

A day after a seemingly simple headache had sent her to the nurse’s office, Alicia and her mother, Beverly, found themselves in a helicopter, flying to Seattle. “I had a panic attack—literally,” says Beverly, recalling her reaction after being told Alicia would require nine months of chemotherapy and radiation treatment—all at Seattle Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center, thousands of miles from home, family, and friends.

But that’s where the Ronald McDonald House entered, becoming a “home-away-from-home” for Beverly and Alicia. They were provided with a nice room, meals, and fun family activities amid a community of support and hope. “We really valued the overall feeling of support,” says Beverly. “You just can’t place a value on what it means to have other parents to talk to about your child and to hear about their children and to be able to understand. And the staff and volunteers are wonderful and caring.” Beverly and Alicia return to the House every three months because Alicia’s condition must be monitored.

“The House will help make it easier,” says Beverly. “It’s an amazing place and an amazing service—it’s truly an oasis at a time when life is a desert.”


Nathan's Story


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St. Lukes Children's Hospital, ID

Nathan spent the first nine weeks of his life in the Newborn Intensive Care Unity (NICU) at St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital in Boise.

His heart was enlarged and he was in cardiac failure due to a large, complex blood-vessel tumor on his leg. Nathan had other complications as well, and grew sicker every day. Finally, Nathan’s doctor told his parents that they would have to amputate his leg in order for him to survive. He was13 days old.

Nathan recovered from that surgery and several others since. Today, he is almost three years old, with a lightweight kidsize walker and an artificial leg that his brother and sister call “Robo-leg.” Nathan was evaluated at St. Luke’s NICU follow-up clinic, and has had speech and physical therapy.

He will have periodic revisions of his leg bone as he grows, and may undergo a bone-lengthening process in a few years so he can walk more comfortably and avoid other complications down the road. “If you had asked me before I had him if I could go through this, I would have said I don’t think so,” says
Nathan’s mom, Mary. “But if he can make it through this, nothing else matters in comparison. He can do anything he wants.”


Mekena Herrera


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In 2001, Mekena Herrera was at dance camp. She seemed lethargic and complained that her hip hurt. When Mekena’s mother, John L. Scott agent Teri Herrera arrived to check on her, she saw Mekena lying on the floor. Makena was complaining of severe pain and several instructors were icing her hip.

Mekena was rushed to her family doctor who recommended that she be taken to Seattle Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center. Preliminary tests at Children’s came back normal, so Mekena went home.

A few hours later, Mekena’s family received a call from the hospital. They had found a potentially deadly bacterial blood infection. Ultimately, Mekena’s treatment included 10 days at Children’s receiving high doses of antibiotics. Her treatment there was followed by four weeks of antibiotics at home.

Six weeks later, Mekena was rushed back to the hospital with bacterial pneumonia. Children’s Hospital once again saved her life.

“We are so grateful to Children’s for saving Mekena’s life twice, and for always treating her with love and compassion,” says Teri. “As a John L. Scott agent, I know first hand how important the work that we do through the John L. Scott Foundation really is.”


Ryan's Story


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Seattle Children's Hospital, WA

It started with a late winter cold passed from 3-year-old Ryan to his 5-year-old brother, Adam, and his mom, Kellianna. But while Adam and Kellianna got better in a few days, young Ryan did not. “Ryan continued to run a fever after we were back to normal, so I touched base with his pediatrician’s office every day to give them updates,” recalls Kellianna.

“After seven days, he started having trouble breathing and we took him straight in.” After a chest X-ray confirmed pneumonia, Ryan was sent to his local hospital. Almost immediately, specialists ordered that he be airlifted to Seattle Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center.

On top of pneumonia, bacteria from Ryan’s infected lungs had traveled to the area between his lungs and chest wall, a potentially life-threatening complication. Ryan appeared to be getting better, but seven days into his hospital stay, the infection in his chest flared up and fluid began to push on his lungs and esophagus.

Ryan went into emergency surgery where Children’s pediatric surgeons made three tiny incisions in his chest to drain the thick buildup and allow him to breathe freely.

After nearly two weeks in the hospital—including five days in isolation in the Intensive Care Unit—a very weak Ryan was well enough to roll out of the hospital in a red Radio Flyer wagon filled with “get well” balloons and go home. “Although the experience was very stressful for us, I was amazed at the care we received. The nurses were so upbeat and very sensitive to Ryan’s needs. His care team included me in their discussions and asked my opinions about his plan of care.” “How lucky we felt to be at Children’s,” recounts Kellianna, as she thinks back to the time Ryan spent at the hospital. “We knew we didn’t have to worry.”


Arley Couch and Dale Duncan


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Angie Couch and Misty Duncan are best friends. They share a unique bond of having had newborns with identical life-threatening conditions.

Arley Couch was born August 7, 2003, in Olympia. It was apparent within hours that something wasn’t right and his doctors knew he needed to be transported to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Tacoma General Hospital.

Arley had transposition of the great vessels, a congenital heart defect in which the two major vessels that carry blood away from the heart are switched. Open-heart surgery is required to repair the transposition.

His condition was rare, so it’s difficult to imagine that another child—Dale Duncan—would be born at the same hospital with the same condition just five days later.

“Arley literally saved Dale’s life,” says Misty. “If the doctors had not seen the same symptoms just days before, they wouldn’t have known to transport him to Tacoma General and Mary Bridge so quickly.” Arley and Dale were transported to the NICU and then cared for in adjoining Mary Bridge Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) after heart surgery.

At Mary Bridge, Dale’s open-heart surgery went well, but he experienced severe post-surgical complications. In Arley’s case, doctors discovered during surgery that in addition to the transposition, there was an additional rare abnormality with his heart that required special reconstructive surgery.

Arley and Dale spent nearly three months in the Mary Bridge PICU, and during that time, their families cemented a bond that will likely last a lifetime. Mary Bridge physicians and staff recognized the importance of the friendship between Misty and Angie and encouraged as much interaction as possible.

To ease the strain of traveling back and forth between the hospital and home (Angie lives in Elma and Misty lives in Yelm) the families stayed in Mary Bridge Family Housing. “The housing was a lifesaver,” Misty recalls. “I don’t know what I would have done without it.”

Today, Dale and Arley are developmentally age appropriate, active, and outgoing three year olds. They continue to receive follow-up care at Mary Bridge Children’s Health Center, and Angie and Misty coordinate their visits. “They both really look forward to going to the doctor’s office,” Angie explains. “To them, these people are their friends. And we learn not to take anything for granted. We enjoy each day and celebrate their health.”

“Mary Bridge is the only place to be for high-risk kids,” says Misty. “I wouldn’t take my child anywhere else. From the doctors to the nurses to the specialists, the care and support is wonderful.”


Callen and Coleman's Story


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Legacy Emanuel Children's Hospital, OR

During week 25 of her pregnancy with twins Callen and Coleman, Jessica had a
routine ultrasound. What she and her doctors found during that ultrasound was anything but routine—Callen had a very large amount of fluid in his abdomen and around his organs.

The family was sent to Legacy Emanuel Children’s Hospital in Portland where they learned that the babies were sick with twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, or TTTS, which is a disease of the placenta. In TTTS, one baby, the recipient twin, gets too much blood, while the donor twin doesn’t get enough blood, putting both at risk for serious injury or death. Callen was the recipient twin.

They were admitted to Emanuel for constant monitoring until the babies were born. Two weeks later, at 27 weeks gestation, Callen and Coleman arrived. Coleman weighed a little over two pounds; Callen weighed well over three pounds. Callen’s extra weigh was attributed to the excess fluid in his belly and around his heart.

For the first week of his life, Callen endured numerous procedures in an effort to reduce the excess fluid in his little body. During an ultrasound seven days after his birth, Callen’s heart looked virtually normal. In addition, he did not appear to have any bleeding in his brain, which is very common in premature babies and can cause several neurological problems.

Five months after their birth, both boys were home with their parents and big brothers, Cooper and Campbell.
“The doctors and nurses at Legacy Emanuel Hospital are the very best,” says Jessica. “We were so blessed to be treated by them and to get to know them.”


Carson's Story


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Legacy Emanuel Children's Hospital, OR

In April of 2006, Carson, was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive brain cancer. After the initial shock, his family’s first thought was where they should take him. “Then we met Dr. Monica Wehby at Emanuel Children’s Hospital,” remembers Carson’s mom, Kristi. “She came up to me, gave me a big hug and said, ‘He’s going to be okay; I can do this.’ We looked at her and knew this hospital was exactly where Carson needed to be.”

Through the Child Life program, Carson and his family met Lynn Davis, whom they now lovingly call “Carson’s personal angel.” She not only helped Carson through difficult procedures, she was also the playmate that he looked forward to seeing on each trip to the hospital.

Carson’s family formed an incredibly special bond with Dr. Wehby and her staff. “Dr. Wehby is one of the best pediatric neurosurgeons in the world and has an amazingly busy schedule, yet, she always took the time to discuss options and go over Carson’s MRIs in detail with us. You’ll never know the impact these acts had unless you have been faced with the decisions we have.”

Today, after two brain surgeries, 60 treatments of radiation, 11 rounds of chemo, and a whole lot of love and prayer, Carson has no evidence of disease. He is a happy healthy kindergartener, loves Taekwondo and is quite a soccer star. His family recognizes that so much of Carson’s healing was because of the amazing care they received at Emanuel Children’s. “We are so truly grateful.”


Jazmin's Story


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Ronald McDonald House, WA

When Jazmin, age 9, had the chance to finally go home for Christmas last December, her response was direct and assured, “Thanks but no thanks.”

Instead, she craved one more Christmas at her “home-away-from-home”—the Seattle Ronald McDonald House, or “the House” as she and others affectionately call it. It’s the place where she had already spent three other Christmases and nearly half of her life while battling cancer.

It’s the place she was living with her mother Patricia and father Carlos when doctors told the family—not once, not , but three times—that there was nothing they could do for Jazmin. It was time for the family to return home to Toppenish, Wash. Time to make Jazmin comfortable. Time to say goodbye.

And it’s also where she was living when late last year doctors informed the family that the new chemotherapy study she’d been put on—the one doctors called their final effort—was working. Her tumors were shrinking. Eventually, her cancer was gone.

Shortly after one last fun Christmas at the House, Jazmin and her family moved into their own home, an apartment in Federal Way near where her dad, arlos, found work. Jazmin will continue periodic checkups, and concerns about a return of her cancer won’t fade for awhile yet.

Reflecting on their experience, Jazmin and her family say they could not have persevered through such an extremely difficult time without the House and all of the volunteers who help make it such a warm and supportive place.

“We will be grateful to everyone at the House for the rest of our lives,” says Carlos. “What people do there is amazing; I can’t even describe how appreciative we are.”


Gunnar's Story


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Seattle Children's Hospital, WA

Gunnar was born August 18, 1998, weighing in at 9 lbs 10 oz. and measuring 23 1/2 inches long. As soon as he was born, he had breathing problems and needed to be resuscitated. It was determined that Gunnar had a herniated diaphragm (a hole in his diaphragm) which caused his intestines to move up and rest on his left lung, which also caused his lung to be underdeveloped. After this discovery, at just 4 hours old, Gunnar was immediately sent to Children's Hospital in Seattle and underwent surgery to repair his diaphragm.
The risk that he would not make it through surgery was high. “I prayed more than I had prayed my entire life that night,” says Bridgett, Gunnar’s mom. Gunnar made it through that surgery successfully. However, he had some other issues, including an underdeveloped left lung. With the help of doctors and nurses at Seattle Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center, by the time Gunnar was nine months old, that lung was healthy.
“The care we received was amazing; we will never forget the staff that took care of our precious baby,” remembers Bridgett. Gunnar is currently 8 1/2 and has developed into a child that has mild autism, severe asthma and a pten mutation/over growth syndrome so he is not without health issues, however, we are so blessed that he survived, I can not imagine life without him nor can I imagine Children's Hospital not being there for us.”
Gunnar and his family still visit Seattle Children’s Hospital regularly to receive treatment for behavioral concerns and other issues.


Jaden's Story


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St. Luke's Children's Hospital, ID

Before their baby boy was even born, Chris and Wade Carlsen were told that their son would not be well. A sonogram revealed that Chris and Wade’s son had duodenal atresia, a condition in which the duodenum (the first part of the small bowel) does not develop properly during pregnancy causing disruptions in the stomach and digestive system. The Carlsen’s were told that their baby would definitely require surgery after he was born.

Abruptly, 37 weeks in to her pregnancy, Chris stopped feeling her baby moving in the womb. Wade immediately rushed Chris to St. Luke’s. During an ultrasound doctors were unable to detect fetal movement or a heartbeat and ordered a “crash” c-section.

Jaden was born with VATER syndrome; a group of physical problems that include vertebral anomalies, a herniated esophagus, and renal problems. He was also diagnosed with a rare disorder called Klippel Feil syndrome, which is characterized by abnormalities in the body. Jaden was born with a hole in his heart, missing ribs, scoliosis, and a fused spine.

At the age of five days old, Jaden had his first surgery to help correct the duodenal atresia. Six other surgeries followed. Jaden spent more than six months of his first year at St. Luke's Children's Hospital, even celebrating his first birthday in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

Jaden received more diagnoses during his first few years of life: postprandial induced hypoglycemic seizures. On top of that, a central line infection caused Pseudomonas, a life threatening blood infection. To combat the infection, Jaden was given high doses of aminoglycicides that ultimately caused him to lose his hearing.

Jaden is now seven years old this year and his visits to the hospital are fewer and farther between. “We count our blessings,” said Chris. “We realize how lucky we are. We have a child that is walking and talking and we could have had a child that wasn’t with us.”


Baylee's Story


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St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital, ID.

Baylee Sterner has had to fight from the very beginning. Her mom, Sarah, was only nine weeks into her pregnancy when doctors knew something was wrong. A series of ultrasounds over the next few months showed damage to Baylee’s kidneys, stomach, and bowel.

Baylee was diagnosed with VATER syndrome, a group of birth defects that commonly occur together.

Several of her organs were injured or incomplete, including her kidneys, esophagus, and intestines.
Doctors tried to keep Baylee in the womb as long as possible, but she arrived six weeks early at St. Luke’s Magic Valley. She was taken by Air St. Luke’s fixed wing to St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital in Boise for surgery when she was only hours old. She had three more surgeries before she was a month old, and has several more ahead.

At five months Baylee weighed only 13 pounds, but she is growing. Thanks to the love and support of her mom, her dad Shaun, and her big sister Dakota – and her sessions of physical and feeding therapy – Baylee is making progress.

Her mind is sharp and clear, and her eyes are bright. She is constantly giggling and reaching for her
toys.

“Having Baylee has strengthened our family and brought us closer,” Sarah says. “We just want her to
get healthy and strong.”

Mario's Story


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Seattle Children's Hospital * Research * Foundation, WA

Mario’s journey to Children’s began in June 2007, during his two-month checkup. The nurse noticed our baby’s skin looked yellow – a possible sign of liver trouble. So our doctor ordered a blood test. We weren’t worried, since Mario was a happy, active baby.

Later that day, our doctor called with shocking news: the test results revealed abnormal liver function, and we needed to go to Children’s immediately. He told us to grab our toothbrushes and prepare for an overnight stay. We had no idea that our first visit would lead to several months of intense medical care, including two liver transplants.

The experts at Children’s believed our son was born with biliary artresia, a condition that causes inflammation and obstruction of the bile ducts in the liver. Mario underwent surgery to confirm the diagnosis and correct the problem. But despite the surgical team’s best efforts, the procedure could only be a short-term solution. Our baby would need a liver transplant.

We were nervous, of course, but Children’s is among the best pediatric organ transplant centers in the country, with a distinguished team of doctors and nurses led by Drs. Patrick Healey and Jorge Reyes. In fact, Children’s has performed more than 500 organ transplants to date. We took comfort in knowing the one-year survival rate for liver transplants is 100%.

When Mario’s condition began to deteriorate in December 2007, his name was added to the transplant list. It was a bittersweet time, because we knew our son’s life depended on the death of another family’s loved one.

On March 23, 2008, the moment we were waiting for finally arrived. Following a 12-hour surgery, Mario had a new liver.

Within a couple of days, however, complications arose. We soon realized Mario would need another transplant to survive.

We were devastated. But the medical team assured us they would take care of Mario until another liver could be found. They never gave up. That sense of commitment and hope meant everything to us during an uncertain time.

Just 22 days after Mario’s first liver transplant, we received the call that another liver was available. The transplant team was amazing – they repaired Mario’s damaged hepatic artery that moves blood from the liver to the heart, and replaced his failing liver during a 10-hour operation.

The day before Mario’s first birthday, we were finally able to go home. We couldn’t think of a better present than the life of our son.

Today, Mario is a healthy, vibrant toddler. We know he wouldn’t be here without Children’s and the generous support of donors. We are grateful to the John L. Scott Foundation for helping Children’s to provide world-class medical care to every child in our region, regardless of a family’s ability to pay.



Cade's Story


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Doernbecher, OR

Cade Mengler of Corvallis, Oregon, has always loved action heroes and old Superman cartoons, but when he was diagnosed with high risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in the summer of 2005, he took on the persona of a super hero to help him deal with his treatments.

It all started when Cade seemed listless. He lay around the house instead of playing. He ran a low-grade fever on two consecutive weekends. One night while he was having a bath, his mom Dabney counted 22 bruises all over his body, which could not have come from normal playing. She took him to his pediatrician who ordered a blood test. Cade had leukemia. The pediatrician immediately referred them to Doernbecher.

The news threw Dabney into “complete panic mode.” She called her husband John, who was at work in Woodburn, and her mother in Lake Oswego to meet them at the hospital.

When they arrived at Doernbecher, Cade had his first bone marrow test, which narrowed the diagnosis to a high-risk precursor B cell ALL. He began chemotherapy the next day. Eight months of aggressive treatment followed. The regimen required four trips to Portland each month. He had to learn to take a variety of medications. Some are liquid, some have to be crushed and a few he can swallow. Some are injections into the muscle, the spinal fluid, or into veins through a central line.

Cade is a little boy who likes to be in control. Most upsetting to him were the sedations for spinal taps. He was sensitive to the medications and resisted the needles. When he awoke after a procedure and found a new I.V. in his leg, he would become very upset. To help him cope, Child Life therapists have given Dabney samples of equipment used for the procedures so she can role play with Cade to help him understand and prepare.

“I never thought a three-year-old could endure so much,” marvels Dabney. “Cade has been remarkably resilient and strong.” He wears Superman or Batman pajamas and emulates their strength and endurance. When his leukemia specialist, Linda Stork, M.D., asked whether he would talk with an older boy anxiously awaiting a spinal tap, Cade jumped down from the exam table, red cape flying behind him, took her hand and said, “I’ll tell him to be brave.”

Cade has finished the aggressive course of treatment and is now on maintenance chemotherapy. This phase of the treatment will last two and a half years. He is also participating in a nationwide Children’s Oncology Group study comparing two slightly different ways to give the intensive chemotherapy.


Grace's Story


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Ronald McDonald House, WA

THE GIBSONS are used to wide open spaces. At home on their Montana ranch, the nearest neighbor is five miles away. So when they were told about the Ronald McDonald
House, they were hesitant, particularly about communal living.

But after visiting the House, they were blown away. They quickly moved out of their hotel and have been thankful and impressed ever since. Along the way, they formed supportive friendships and enjoyed many House activities.

“Things went from being bleak and not doable, to doable,” says Karen, the mother of Grace, 7.

For Grace, the best thing about the House has been the art projects led by volunteers. The family also is appreciative of having enough space for their entire family. And the family has been thankful for the “friendly and gracious” people they have met in Seattle. “It’s taught us all a real lesson in love and humanity,” says Karen.

With Grace progressing well in treatment, the family moved back home late this year. She’s getting back to her active self and has resumed one of her favorite activities – horseback riding, which she has done since she was 2 years old. She loves riding Bugsy and Shelby and looks forward to getting back into competition (barrel racing, for which she’s won three belt buckles) and helping Mom and Dad more around the ranch.

“She’s a good hand,” says Karen.



Keilana’s Story


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Seattle Children’s Hospital

In 2001, when Keilana was nine months old, she was rushed to Seattle Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center because she was so lethargic she was hard to wake. While waiting to be seen, Keilana’s parents, Kris and Holly, felt a bulge on her head. They knew something could be seriously wrong.

A CT scan confirmed every parent’s worst fear. It was cancer, a rare brain tumor called a primitive neuroectodermal tumor that had also spread to her spine. The odds were not in her favor. She needed expert treatment right away, starting with a shunt to ease the pressure on her brain.

Keilana was in the right place. Seattle Children’s is a national leader in treating even the most complex and rare forms of pediatric cancer. The hospital’s survival rate for all types of childhood cancer combined is higher than the national average. Seattle Children’s treats 230 children newly diagnosed with cancer every year—more than any other institution in the region. Keilana spent much of the next two years at Children’s battling the cancer through three rounds of chemotherapy, six weeks of targeted radiation and three stem cell transplants. Her winning spirit never gave up.

Gradually, Keilana’s cancer went into remission. But the cancer and side effects from her chemotherapy and radiation treatments were severe, causing life-threatening infections in her lungs and knee and many ongoing complications. She requires care from multiple Children’s specialty areas.

Despite these obstacles, Keilana is an active 9-year-old who loves dancing and strumming her guitar. Even with all that she went through—and continues to face—Keilana still gets excited going to Children’s. She is full of joy and hope and loves connecting with people. She lives each day with a spirit that inspires others.

Kaitlyn’s Story


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Doernbecher
Play…. When asked about Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, that’s what comes to Kaitlyn’s mind. She’s been a Doernbecher patient since she was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma, a rare liver cancer, just before her third birthday.

Since that day four years ago, Kaitlyn has been through multiple rounds of chemo, a handful of surgical procedures, and hundreds of needle pokes at Doernbecher, but she doesn’t think about those things. She thinks about seeing the nurses who know her by name, riding in a red wagon down the hall and making friends on the outdoor play structures.

Kaitlyn’s parents are very happy with the care she receives at Doernbecher. They know she’s in the hands of an outstanding team of dedicated care providers and specialists. Equally important to them, her doctors and nurses include them in decisions. The incredibly supportive staff does everything they can to make visits easier for Kaitlyn, which is why she thinks about playing instead of medical procedures.

“I remember the year before Kaitlyn got sick, I was listening to 99.5 The Wolf when they did their annual Radiothon fundraiser for Doernbecher,” remembers Kaitlyn’s mom, Michelle. “I was so moved by the patients’ stories and I took a moment to think about how lucky I was that my daughter was healthy. Now I think about how lucky I am that Doernbecher was there for us. As a result of our positive experience, my family, my friends and I are now loyal Doernbecher supporters.”

The amazing thing about Doernbecher is that it’s here for everyone in our community, regardless of
their ability to pay.

Walker’s Story


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Ronald McDonald House
Toddler-aged children are known to collect a few bumps and bruises on their way to mastering the art of getting around, but the dark circles under baby Walker’s eyes worried his mother, Maddy, especially as she never witnessed anything that could cause the condition. Other alarming symptoms began to develop without explanation and led
Walker’s family from Eastern Washington to Seattle Children’s Hospital in March of 2010.

There, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer affecting newborn babies and children up to the age of ten.

The timing was far from perfect. The new parents had just purchased their first home and Maddy was relishing the chance to stay home with their baby. So, in addition to dealing with the emotions of a devastating diagnosis, Walker and Maddy moved far from their friends and family to stay at the Seattle Ronald McDonald House for the duration of Walker’s treatments. To keep the family financially solvent, Walker’s father, Ben, spent most of the time in Ellensburg, working in the family-owned small business. Walker’s treatments, including surgery and radiation, lasted through November, meaning the family’s regular life was uprooted for a full nine months. “The financial aspect of staying at the house helped a lot. We were able to pay what we could, but without the House’s help, I really don’t know what we would have done,” Maddy explains.

Maddy and Ben are thankful for how well Walker has responded to his treatments and he is now in remission. Reflecting on their stay at the House, Maddy remembers how scary it was when Walker was first diagnosed and began treatments. “It was helpful being around other families going through the same thing. Out in public, people might stare, wondering what’s wrong with your child, but everyone there understands. Walker could see other kids there with tubes too.”

Derek, Kelley, and Kyla’s Story


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St. Lukes Children’s Hospital
Derek, Kelley, and Kyla are active triplets who were born six weeks early and spent 18 days in St. Luke’s Newborn Intensive Care Unit. Today, they are all doing well and love reading books. Derek is all boy; he loves trucks, trains, and anything that has an engine. Kelley spends most of her time following behind her big sister, Kristen. Kayla is a princess and loves dressing the part.

Ryan’s Story


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St. Lukes Children’s Hospital

Born at St. Luke’s 15 and a half weeks early, Ryan is a happy, chatty, smiley child who loves being the center of attention. He spent most of his first nine months in the hospital, due to complications from premature birth and 17 surgeries. Although he has slight developmental delays, today Ryan is thriving.



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