As captain of the soccer team, student council president, and a participant of many other school activities, Abby was always on the go with lots of energy.
But suddenly, simple tasks became hard for her. She was hit with uncontrollable headaches and severe fatigue.
When she started having problems just walking from class to class, we took her to Aultman Hospital. They told us, “You need to get her to Akron Children’s.”
From the minute we walked into Akron Children’s, we were amazed. They say they treat every child like their own, and they do.
We met with Dr. Jeffrey Hord at the Showers Family Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders on a Friday. By Monday, we had a diagnosis.
Abby had severe aplastic anemia, a rare bone-marrow disorder. Because it’s so rare, it’s often misdiagnosed. But not at Akron Children’s. We knew that we were in the right place.
At the time, none of us were sure if she was healthy enough to finish her senior year of high school, or even attend college. Her future just seemed to stop. It was hard to comprehend.
We embarked on a 2 ½ year treatment journey. Like a computer virus that shuts down your machine, severe aplastic anemia shuts down the bone marrow so you don’t produce red or white blood cells or platelets.
There was no matching bone marrow donor for Abby, so Dr. Hord treated her with a hormone that somehow distinguishes between good and bad cells. She also had to periodically receive blood transfusions.
The team at Akron Children’s became our family, and we were thankful for the remarkable care she received. Together, we helped Abby through her treatment. She was able to finish high school and went on to graduate from Hiram College.
Today, Abby is healthy, married and working for a national organization that supports cancer research. On her wedding day, Dr. Hord was there to celebrate with us.
We know that we wouldn’t be where we are today without Akron Children’s Hospital. It’s one of those places where miracles really do happen.