In 2013, we published 449 stories on our blog, which ranged from news articles to patient and staff features. Some were created by our staff while others were submitted by parents of our patients.
These blog posts took you inside the walls of Akron Children’s and showcased the special stories that happen here every day.
In case you missed them the first time around, here are our top 20 heartwarming stories of 2013 based on your engagement with them on Facebook.
20. Lasting friendships form in NICU
Rebekah spent the first 5 weeks of her NICU stay with a variety of neighbors. Some had parents we loved, and some we never really knew.
The last 5 weeks of her stay were spent in a double room in the TLC section of Akron Children’s NICU with Tailyn Dailey and her family. We often find ourselves saying things that start out, “Do you remember when Bekah and Tailyn…”, or “How about that time when we stayed with the girls and…”
19. Music heals his soul while dialysis cleans his blood
The repetitive “woosh-woosh-bump” sound of the dialysis machine fills the room as 19-year-old Chris Blackwell sits tethered to the machine for 4-hour stints, 3 times a week.
He has been receiving dialysis since he was diagnosed 2 years ago with chronic kidney disease.
18. The healing power of the Doggie Brigade
Our daughter, AmberHaze, had a long stay at Akron Children’s Hospital due to cancer. While my daughter had countless stays as an inpatient, she knew she could ALWAYS count on Doggie Brigade member Sammy and his mommy, Barbara, to cheer her up, even on the days she felt her worst and just wanted to cuddle with her puppy.
17. Down syndrome child is a special blessing
A lot of people have been starting to ask me about my pregnancy and how I’ve dealt with learning about Isaiah’s diagnosis. We did not know prenatally that Isaiah had Down syndrome.
For more than one reason we opted out of the tests. The doctors did assure me that he was growing perfectly and that if he had Down syndrome they would see it in my ultrasound.
16. A special gift for my only child – one of my kidneys
I went into premature labor on Saturday, April 17, 2008 – while maternity clothes shopping for the first time.
I was told my only child would likely enter this world by night fall – at only 27 weeks into my only pregnancy. She didn’t.
15. Teen with brain and spine tumors creates video to support cancer research
Kaela Keller should be filling out applications for college, learning how to drive, practicing sprints with the Garaway High School Track team and looking for a fun part-time job.
Instead, the 17 year old from Dover has put many of those plans on hold as she undergoes chemotherapy to fight spine and brain tumors at Akron Children’s Hospital.
14. Lip adhesion surgeries fix son’s cleft
One year ago, we were at Akron Children’s for our son’s first step in lip repair. He was having lip adhesion surgery. It was such a hard day for us, but the staff at Akron Children’s made themselves available to us the entire time we were in the hospital.
The nurses in the ICU helped us get through the tough parts right after surgery. They were the greatest. We couldn’t be more thankful to them.
13. KinderCare Learning Centers donate more than 1,500 stuffed animals for patients
It took several minivans and even a KinderCare bus to deliver all of the donations collected during KinderCare’s community teddy bear drive last week.
According to Amber Bowling, district manager at KinderCare, the 27 regional child care centers collected 3,750 bears, thanks in part to WEWS Channel 5 spreading the word about the details of the drive.
12. Inside the OR: 3 month old has surgery to repair cleft clip
Salah and Reem Mustafa knew their fourth child was going to be born with a cleft lip and palate. They learned about the birth defect during a prenatal ultrasound.
Upon hearing the news, Reem, a former chemist, immediately turned to the Internet to learn more about it. The images she discovered online terrified her.
11. Haitian toddler had angels in Akron this holiday season
We often hear words like “joy,” “blessing” and “good will” during the holidays. They are in our greeting cards and the songs of the season, but sometimes they become more than just words.
More than 3 weeks ago, a team of Akron Children’s cardiologists, anesthesiologists, critical care doctors and nurses learned a child’s life was on the line and rallied around him.
10. Meet our amazing angel Cam: Hypoplastic right ventricle
As I sit back and reflect on this past year, I can’t help but shed tears of both happiness and sadness. We are coming up to Cam’s first Birthday, a day that I feared we would never see.
And now it is a day that’s quickly approaching and I find myself crying to every Christmas song on the radio. Crying because our family has been so blessed with Cam’s journey and his love for life.
9. Adoption,not birth, allow this mother-daughter to share a genetic bond
The Chinese New Year is coming up on Feb. 10. But the holiday came early for Dr. Catherine Ward-Melver and her newly adopted daughter, Zoe, who is Chinese.
Dr. Ward-Melver, a clinical geneticist in Akron Children’s Genetics Center, and her husband, Kevin, traveled to China in early December to complete the adoption and bring 3-year-old Zoe back to Akron to start their new life together.
8. Motorcyclists deliver teddy bears and joy
Usually teddy bears and motorcycles have nothing in common, but thanks to the Children’s Caravan Teddy Bear Run each September, they both bring smiles to the faces of the patients at Akron Children’s Hospital.
Since 1996, thousands of motorcycles have rolled onto Bowery Street and the Akron campus with stuffed animals and generosity in tow.
7. Thanks to Akron Children’s NICU staff for making my son smile
I just want to share my story with you. This is my amazing son, Colton. He was born on Aug. 28. When he was born he did not cry and he did not open his eyes. He just laid there.
He was born at Wooster Community Hospital and was transported to Akron Children’s. I will never forget the moment the doctor told us he just can’t keep his O2 (oxygen level) up on his own and is having trouble breathing.
6. Dr. Manning saved our son’s life despite pre-eclampsia
I went to the ER at St. Elizabeth’s hospital when I was just over 24 weeks pregnant. I had severe pains in my abdomen. I was eventually diagnosed with preeclampsia and my husband and I were told that the only option was to deliver our son.
Dr. Jennifer Manning met with us and explained that because of how early he was born, that his chance of survival was not very good. She was compassionate, but wanted us to be prepared for what may lie ahead.
5. A grad party like no other
Taylor Tonty from Sharpesville, Pa., was recently a patient on our pediatric floor on the Beeghly campus in Boardman. When she found out she was going to miss her 5th grade graduation because she was in the hospital, she was extremely disappointed and began to cry.
To lift her spirits, the staff decided to have a celebration on the unit.
4. Halloween fun helps our kids celebrate despite being hospitalized
No one wants to miss the Halloween fun at school because they’re in the hospital. But if you have to be hospitalized on the 31st of October, Akron Children’s Hospital is the place to be – both in Akron and Boardman.
Our young-at-heart staff embraces this holiday, raising the costume bar higher and higher each year. Many of our departments chose a theme months ago, crafting the perfect costumes to make even our youngest patients smile.
3. Seven precious hours
Our story started on Jan. 17, 2008, when our second born and first daughter was born at Wooster Community Hospital at 31-weeks gestation. Her name was Avery Lucille Hoffman.
When Avery was born, she was very sick and was immediately transported to Akron Children’s NICU to be looked at because her illness was beyond what Wooster could do. Quite frankly, they hadn’t really seen a case like hers before.
2. Superhero window washers return to Akron Children’s (Photo Gallery)
Batman, Wolverine, Spider-Man and Iron Man returned not just to clean the atrium windows at Akron Children’s Hospital by rappelling down the hospital’s edifice, but they delighted the dozens of patients, family and staff who gathered to watch.
The special visit was made possible by American National Skyline Inc. (ANSI) of Cleveland, who has been cleaning the windows at Akron Children’s for more than 15 years.
1. Cancer patients get a prom to remember (Photo Gallery)
The satiny dresses and sleek tuxedoes. The curling irons and make-up. The limos, flashing cameras, and parents beaming with joy.
This was not a typical Friday afternoon in Akron Children’s Hospital’s Considine Professional Building, as staid conference rooms transformed into full-fledged “prom prep” centers with excitement as thick as the hairspray in the air.