Patient Stories

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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Elijah Wick

At just 13 weeks’ gestation, Elijah was diagnosed with a rare, fatal condition called Lower Urinary Tract Obstruction. He was given a one in 10 chance to survive the pregnancy. At 16 weeks Elijah underwent minimally invasive fetal surgery performed in the womb . At 36 weeks, Elijah was born via emergency C-section and was rushed into Wolfson Children’s Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. He was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease called Eagle-Barrett Syndrome that affects one out of every 40,000 births. Since birth, Elijah has had countless procedures and numerous surgeries at Wolfson. Today, Elijah is 10 years old and is an amazing boy who has fought and beaten extreme odds. Elijah’s parents cannot say enough about the medical staff at Wolfson Children’s

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Medhanet Tegen

Medhanet (“Mede”) Tegen’s trip from her home in Awassa, Ethiopia to Jacksonville for desperately needed spinal surgery was the result of months of careful planning by many caring individuals and organizations. In March 2016, Joel Weaver, a volunteer with Elpis Inter-national asked if Wolfson could provide assistance for Mede, an orphan who has received food, clothing, medical care and schooling from Elpis Ethiopia for the past ten years. Weaver said that he and other volunteers had observed Mede’s deterioration due to severe scoliosis. The spinal surgery she required was not available in her country. Through a strong partnership between Elpis, Ethiopian Airlines, the Program for International Peace, Wolfson Children’s Hospital, Nemours Children’s Specialty Care, and Dr. Kevin Neal—all of whom donated time, skill and funding—Medhanet

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Dylan Sawa

Thee-year-old Dylan Sawa and his brother were home after mudding-around on four-wheelers with their father. The boys had taken baths and were cleaning up. Suddenly their father heard a crash. He rushed toward the sound and found Dylan lying on the floor caught under a wooden table. A typical energetic boy, Dylan had scampered off after his bath and climbed onto the bottom shelf of a heavy table. The table had toppled over, pinning Dylan’s arm and hand, and crushing his small fingers. In the ER, nurses cleaned Dylan’s hand and took an x-ray. Three fingers were completely crushed with open fractures visible even to his father’s untrained eye. The nurse said Dylan needed the pediatric professionals at Wolfson Children’s Hospital. Dylan went into surgery

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Carolina Parson

At age 7, Carolina was experiencing bouts of vomiting followed by headaches. When her parents sought medical attention, they were referred to Nemours Children’s Specialty Care and Wolfson Children’s Hospital. In February 2014 Carolina was diagnosed with a medulloblastoma (brain tumor). After 11 hours of surgery to remove the malignant tumor, she was prescribed chemotherapy and treatment at Jacksonville’s UF Health Proton Therapy Institute. Carolina visited the Institute for a five-hour proton therapy treatment five days a week for the next six weeks. On January 19, 2015, her spinal tap was clear. Carolina is now cancer-free. Today, the 10-year old is making good grades, loves baking and has joined a running club. Since her recovery from brain cancer, Carolina and her siblings have been paying

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Anna Galnor

At just 18 months old, Anna Galnor, began experiencing serious stomach issues. It was not until age 5 when she was finally diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease (CD). The major threat of CD is that it severely impairs the small intestine’s absorption of nutrients, to the degree it threatens the body’s growth and development. After several different steroid treatments, Anna’s only relief came via Remicade, an immune biologic drug only given by infusion. She now receives infusions every 4 weeks, regardless of flare-ups. When remission is achieved, it lasts an average of 2 to 3 years. Anna is 9-year-old and a lively, happy girl who has accepted the circumstances of CD. Her mother reports that the doctors, nurses and staff at Wolfson Children’s Hospital have contributed

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Hunter Crain

Five days after Hunter was born in 1997, he began to turn blue. Physicians in the ER immediately ran tests, and Hunter was diagnosed with Variant Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. Hunter faced three surgeries. In 2013, Hunter found he could not walk the distance of two holes of golf and sought follow-up care with the UF Pediatric Cardiology Program at Wolfson Children’s Hospital. Doctors performed two heart catheterizations and found that Hunter’s right atrium was severely dilated. This new development, combined with the hypoplastic left ventricle, led doctors to recommend a potential heart transplant. That December, Hunter was placed on the heart transplant list. On June 7, 2016, Hunter received the long-awaited phone call—his heart was matched. Hunter came through the surgery with flying colors

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Destiny Green

Destiny was born at only 25 weeks after her mother’s water broke. Destiny was born with cerebral palsy, a lifelong neurological disorder. Growing up with CP was manageable for Destiny until last year when she started experiencing left sided weakness and inability to walk. “We called our contacts at Wolfson Children’s Hospital and they took the time to sit with us and validate my concerns,” Karen, Destiny’s mother, recalls. Destiny had a tumor intertwined with her spinal cord. Before this new diagnosis, Destiny was totally independent; now she can’t walk. Destiny is popular with the hospital staff at Brooks Rehab, where she receives therapy three times a week. “They’re my best friends,” says Destiny of the staff at Brooks Rehab.

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Aaron Chester

Robin Chester and her late husband, Drew, excitedly awaited the arrival of their first child. At a routine ultrasound, a physician found transposition of the grand arteries, a serious condition that causes a shortage of oxygen from the heart. Aaron’s parents were faced with the reality of the situation—their sweet baby boy was perfectly fine while safely tucked in utero but would require a corrective procedure once born. The eight-hour procedure was performed at just eight days old. Wolfson pediatric cardiologist Dr. James Joyce, who has provided Aaron’s follow-up care for 10 years, calls his recovery extraordinary. Aaron has grown to be an athlete who excels in a variety of sports. Ten years later, Robin is still amazed at his recovery and reflected on their

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