Patient Stories

Published on March 13, 2017
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Brian Hacker had never met anyone else with congenital adrenal hyperplasia, a disease he was diagnosed with when he was just 2 weeks old. That is, not until he came back to visit the hospital that diagnosed him, to volunteer at a camp specifically designed for kids with the... Read More
Published on March 9, 2017
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Thomas Hoag was 6 years old in 1967, and getting sicker by the day. As a little boy, he remembers being carted around from one doctor to the next. None of them could figure out what was wrong.  “My parents have told me that I didn’t want to play or do anything,” Hoag... Read More
Published on February 23, 2017
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In May 2011, at her grandmother’s birthday party, Viviana Flores did something nearly unheard of for a 6 year old: She turned down a piece of cake. She and her mom, Diana Hernandez, had just come from the doctor’s office because Viviana had a stomachache. Her cousin... Read More
Published on January 20, 2017
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Imagine a newborn so small you can hold her entire body in one hand. Then imagine the overwhelming concern and responsibility you would feel for her fragile life if this were your own child. For Nicole and Danny Castro, it doesn’t take any imagination; their daughter, Indi,... Read More
Published on January 20, 2017
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A muscle disorder has frozen her body and impaired her speech, but with every academic achievement, the straight-A college freshman delivers a message to those who can't see past her disabilities. You have to fight the inclination to ignore Connie Morales. Diminutive,... Read More
Published on November 29, 2016
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In October 2009, Megan and Christopher Pierson welcomed daughter Saylor at a local hospital near their home in Newport Beach, California. Even though their little one was born six weeks early, the proud parents were thrilled. “She was pink and crying and looked perfect,”... Read More
Published on November 29, 2016
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A Family Fighting Leukemia Finds Answers, Care and Hope The signs were subtle. A less persistent person might have listened to the advice from the first few doctors, and just chalked it up to a sinus infection and the overactive imagination of a new mom. But Ashley Kramer... Read More
Published on November 29, 2016
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When 15-year-old Jenny Cheng learned that she’d been accepted to a prestigious summer ballet and language program in Russia—earning a significant scholarship—she was beyond elated. But on that same day in April 2015, Jenny and her family also learned that her scoliosis (... Read More
Published on November 29, 2016
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Kennedy Rae Lewis’ mom expected her first ride to be in the back seat of her car on the way home from the hospital. Instead, it was in a helicopter, just hours after she was born—and it was a ride on which her life depended. Kennedy arrived ten weeks early via emergency... Read More
Published on November 28, 2016
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Carter Holt is the hero and protector of his little brother, Forrest, who suffers from vascular malformations and kidney failure. “You’re doing a good job, buddy.” Those are the loving words 5-year-old Carter Holt whispers to his little brother, Forrest, whenever he... Read More
Published on November 21, 2016
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A twelve-year-old's golf dream made possible by bone marrow donor sister. Immediately after watching “The Short Game,” a documentary about elite 7-year-old golfers descending on the world-famous Pinehurst Golf Course to determine the next world champion, Marley Franklin... Read More
Published on November 11, 2016
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How CHLA helped one teenager overcome scoliosis to soar in gymnastics and in life Scoliosis surgery at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles gave 17-year-old Danielle Drake new hope for her aerial gymnastics career—and two inches on the height charts. Danielle, a... Read More
Published on November 2, 2016
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On an uncharacteristically cold and blustery day in Miami this year, Adam Wolf did something that doctors—and he himself—once thought impossible: He got up out of his wheelchair and walked. He walked for two miles—the last two miles of the Miami Half-Marathon. For the... Read More
Published on October 12, 2016
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When Caiden Moran was born, he failed the newborn hearing screening, a standard test given to all babies before they leave the hospital. So his parents brought him back for a recheck. And he failed again. Caiden, it turned out, was born with underdeveloped cochleae and... Read More
Published on September 27, 2016
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I am Kate Schumacher, and I am honored to have the chance to share my story and my journey. I am 15 and a freshman at Marymount High School. I have a twin brother Joe, and he goes to Loyola High School. I am currently on the Marymount Freshman Volleyball Team and... Read More
Published on September 22, 2016
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Emboldened by tales of his warrior ancestry, Jeremiah Succar takes the fight to a rare and menacing cancer “The Succar bloodline is a bloodline of warriors,” his father told him, sitting beside him in his hospital room that evening. “You’re strong. You’re powerful. You... Read More
Published on September 8, 2016
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Carmella Cruz, 8, shows it’s not how you dance that matters, but that you’re dancing at all.  Despite all the surgeries, despite the grim prognoses—despite the odds, really—8-year-old Carmella “Ella” Cruz just keeps dancing. It’s a dance all her own, more of a... Read More
Published on September 6, 2016
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Karen Hayhurst was giving her daughter Emily a piano lesson one day when Emily, then 7, piped up with a question. “Wouldn’t this be a lot easier,” she reasoned, “if I had five fingers on each of my hands?” Her mother’s response was matter-of-fact. “I told her, ‘... Read More
Published on August 30, 2016
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Surgery for hip dysplasia leaves Leana Vardanian pain-free and ready for a bright future. For Leana Vardanian, the first moment she knew something was terribly wrong came in sixth grade, when she stood up from her desk at school and immediately fell to the floor. Her left leg... Read More
Published on August 18, 2016
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All parents face tough questions from their children, but Cynthia Harkins has had to answer some particularly poignant questions from her son, David. “He asked me once if he really has half a heart,” Cynthia recalls. “I told him that, for some people, this is the easiest... Read More

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