Patient Stories

DAFNE ANEZ FLORES

Written by Laurie Moore Thakker On New Year’s Eve 2016, fourteen-year-old  Dafne Flores was celebrating with a few of her friends, taking turns singing  their  favorite  songs in  her  room.  Around  10:30 that evening, Dafne complained of a painful headache and fell on her way to get some headache medicine. Her last memories are of her friends helping her to bed, giving her ice for her head, and then later getting in the car with her mom, Angelita. Luckily, Angelita followed her instincts and took Dafne to an emergency clinic near her house, a decision that saved her daughter’s life. A CT scan revealed a brain hemorrhage and Dafne was rushed to Wolfson Children’s Hospital where she was unresponsive upon her arrival. Another CT scan

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C A I T L I N M O N G A N

Caitlin Mongon, age 17, wrote the following essay about her experience this summer as a response to a college application query about a time she faced a challenge or setback. Caitlin wants to make a positive impact on the world as a doctor, and we believe that she most certainly she will. The setting sun, glowing amber in the evening sky, cast warm rays of orange light across the tips of my outstretched hands. The summer air was humid; it felt like breathing in fog. I watched the white swamp birds drift lazily across the street, their wings outstretched, feathers catching the light of a brilliant Florida sunset. They seemed so free. It was in this instant that I finally felt what the doctors had

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T Y R E E M O S E S J O N E S

Written by Susan D. Brandenburg Eleven-year-old Tyree Moses Jones was only two weeks old when his mother Tabatha Williams received a life-altering call from a hematology/ oncology nurse explaining that her son tested positive for sickle cell disease. Tabatha is a woman who meets challenges in her life head-on, leaning on faith and family to carry her through. “Sickle cell disease is terrible . . . you have no idea. It’s been a long, hard road for Tyree and all of us who love him dearly.” An inherited form of anemia, sickle cell disease is a condition in which there aren’t enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen throughout the body. In his eleven years, Tyree Jones has suffered many chronic symptoms, including

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ASHER JAXSON ADAMS

Written by Kymberly Wolfson Jenifer Adams knew she was meant to have a third child. After trying to conceive for ten years and knowing she had health complications that would make conception a challenge, Jen and her husband, Chris, decided to pursue adoption. Soon after starting the adoption process, Jen was surprised to learn she was pregnant. Because her first two sons were born with special needs, Jen wanted to do everything in her power to ensure a healthy pregnancy and safe delivery for her third child. Understanding Jen’s concerns and wanting to provide her with all available resources, Jen’s OB/GYN referred her to the Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition, part of a statewide network of community-based organizations whose goal is “to reduce Florida’s high

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MOHAMED “BABY MO” SORÉ

Written by Lorrie DeFrank In an unimaginable situation where clean water is at a premium, Mohamed “Baby Mo” Soré observed his first birthday in September 2016 in Burkina Faso, Africa. His chances of celebrating future birthdays are greatly improved due to the intervention and generosity of Patrons of the Hearts and their affiliation with Wolfson Children’s Hospital. Since 2006, Patrons of the Hearts has provided life-altering evaluation and treatment for 112 children from 25 countries. According to co-founder Jose Ettadgui, professor of Pediatric Cardiology at UF Health, “In Mo’s case, the initial contact was with a wonderful organization called Healing the Children. They reached out to Patrons asking for help and we were able to provide it.” Patrons of the Hearts works in partnership with

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AARON & ANDREW EUNICE

Written by Vikki Mioduszewski Katie Eunice tracks her two sons’ medical appointments and treatments with a color- coded calendar: red for Wolfson Children’s Hospital, orange for Nemours Children’s Specialty Care and blue for the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute. Since Aaron and Andrew’s dual brain tumor diagnoses this past winter, the calendar provides some stability in an otherwise hectic and frightening time. During a routine eye exam for Aaron, the optometrist noticed that the normally healthy 10-year-old’s optic nerves were swollen. An emergency visit to a Valdosta hospital led to an immediate transfer to Wolfson Children’s Hospital for a full evaluation. Under the direction of pediatric neurosurgeon Philipp Aldana, MD, co-medical director of the Stys Neuroscience Institute at Wolfson Children’s Hospital, the cause became clear:

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ADDISON FAITH GRESS

Written by Susan D. Brandenburg At three days old, Addison Gress underwent colostomy surgery at Wolfson Children’s Hospital for a congenital birth defect. At twelve days old, the tiny infant developed a blood clot caused by a clotting disorder, shortly followed by respiratory failure. The clotting disorder and respiratory failure required her to be on life support for the next three months, during which time she was diagnosed with hydrocephalus –an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid within the cavities of the brain that causes the head to swell. From her birth on August 25, 2010, to December 18, 2010, the day she came home from the hospital, Addison always had a family member by her bedside. When Addison was born, she had a 21-month-old sister,

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CHARLEE ROBISON-DAVIS

Written by America Croft Ullah Charlee Robison-Davis was born to her adoring parents and big brother Liam on June 1, 2015. She was seemingly in perfect health. In fact, at the routine checkups in the following eeks and months, her family was told that all was well. However, Jerome Davis and Emma Robison had some concerns regarding their daughter’s health. They noticed how her chest retracted when she breathed, but they were assured that it was normal for her age. It was at Charlee’s five-month check up with a new pediatrician, Dr. Assi, that her labored breathing raised a suspicion, and Dr. Assi sent Charlee for a chest x-ray. From the chest x-ray, Emma was sent for an echocardiography test. Jerome and Emma were called

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Elle Hariton: An Inspiration

Elle Hariton is proving once again that a mother’s bottomless love and  patience combined with a child’s determination and resilience can work miracles. Elle was born  in February 2008, six weeks early and not as responsive as other premature babies. The infant’s lack of muscle tone persisted; so Elle’s pediatrician ordered physical therapy. At her first appointment, the therapist found Elle had a dislocated hip, unexplained by injury. Eric Loveless, MD, pediatric orthopedist at Wolfson  Children’s Hospital and Nemours Children’s Specialty Care, determined the hip dislocation was present at birth. “I immediately connected it to a neurological problem,” recalled Loveless. While he began planning hip surgery, Lori made  an appointment for Elle with Wolfson and Nemours neurologist Raj Sheth, MD. Before the appointment or hip

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Mason Tran

n 2014 Mason Tran complained of neck pains.“They were sporadic but became progressively worse,” his mother, Bethany, said. In May 2015, a pediatrician suspected muscle spasms and recommended consulting a neurologist. On December 30, an MRI revealed a tumor in his spinal column. Mason was transported to Wolfson Children’s Hospital via the KidsKare pediatric ambulance. On January 5, 2016, Wolfson’s advanced imaging equipment allowed doctors to see how the neuron connections ran around the tumor. Mason underwent the delicate procedure to remove the tumor. The Tran family believes the care they received at Wolfson was exceptional. “People come to Wolfson from all over the world,” Bethany said. “We were confident we were in the best hands.”

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