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Sharing Bekah’s story as a NICU and heart patient brings holiday hopes and wishes

sarah-speaking-at-eventAs proud parents of a NICU graduate and an open heart surgery survivor, Chris and I are never shy about sharing the story of Rebekah’s hospital experience, or what it was like to be there as her parents.

Friday, Dec. 13, was no exception. Usually we find ourselves telling our story to people in the grocery store checkout line, or at the doctor’s office, or some other place where a random stranger mentions something that we can use as a link to share how happy we are with how things have happened.

Chris holding Bekah

Chris holding Bekah

Friday, however, we had a captive audience at Akron Children’s Holiday Hopes and Wishes luncheon held at Mr. Anthony’s in Boardman. We were happy to share our story, a story that echoes so many other stories familiar to those in attendance that day.

While I love telling people who don’t know much about Akron Children’s Hospital what our experience was like, it’s also nice to speak to a room full of people who DO know what Akron Children’s is all about.

plant-family-leaving-podiumI was happy to be able to share our story with people who have been there as patient families, doctors, nurses, volunteers, and more. The reason each person was at the Holiday Hopes and Wishes event was because each and every one of them loves and supports the efforts of Akron Children’s Hospital, especially here in the Mahoning Valley.

What I always like about telling Bekah’s story is the range of facial expressions I get to see on the faces of the people listening.

plant-family-at-tableFrom the shock of having a sick baby who would need open heart surgery, to the smiles and laughs when I tell everyone that now we’re happy to live close to an ER that is dedicated to children (2 year olds are a little dangerous sometimes—at least ours is!) to the knowing, appreciative nods of those who understand what it’s like to be as thankful as we are, watching the audience, and knowing that our story is one that is not just our own, but one that is really shared by so many makes me happy to share even the scariest memories.

As I recounted what it was like to have a fresh new baby hurried out of the room and continued through Bekah’s appointment where Dr. Vande Kappelle declared her normal (well, as normal as any very silly little girl can be), even I was surprised at how our story mostly revolves around the PEOPLE of the hospital.

From our very first interaction with her first transport team, to the ladies who did her routine bloodwork a few days ago, it’s the people and the way they care for Bekah, and in turn, us, that really make Akron Children’s a place we are proud of. So, we’ll keep sharing our story of hope with anyone who will listen—captive audiences or not.

Holiday Hopes and WishesAnd, by the way, you can get in on the fun and excitement of the Holiday Hopes and Wishes event too—it’s chock full of raffles, auctions, delicious food, and more. If time passes as quickly at your house as it does at ours, it’ll be next Christmas before you know it.

Read the rest of the Plant family’s story through her blog, Following Your Heart.

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About Sarah Plant, Patient Family

Sarah Plant and her husband, Christopher, live in Mineral Ridge, Ohio, with their daughter, Bekah, and a rabbit named Gussie. She enjoys bike riding and spending time with friends, family and her fellow church members. Sarah is a stay-at-home mom and former high school English teacher. In her "Following Your Heart" blog, Sarah shares her experiences as a first-time mom whose baby was born with a congenital heart defect as well as a mom of a healthy boy.

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