Patient Stories

Published on August 2, 2018
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By Katie Sweeney First, he wiggled his fingers. Then he wiggled his toes. Now, he moves his head side to side, and he furrows his eyebrows when he doesn’t agree with you. For 3-year-old Ali Al-Mutawa—and for his parents and family, and his doctors, nurses and... Read More
Published on June 21, 2018
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A quartet of teenage siblings makes CHLA happier, one song at a time By Matt Villano To many, they’re The Runaway Hamsters—a talented band of child musicians who sing country pop and strive to help those in need. To Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, however, the four... Read More
Published on May 24, 2018
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In the wake of the first anniversary of his newborn son’s passing, a father finds solace in skydiving and triathlon training, making sure to never be far from the loss. By Jeff Weinstock  “Have you ever jumped out of an airplane?” You got the wrong guy, buddy... Read More
Published on May 17, 2018
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By Katie Sweeney Twelve-year-old Justin Ybarra likes to joke around, and he likes to have fun. Very rarely does he take life too seriously—even though there have been plenty of things in his life that have been plenty serious. So when you ask him why he got along so... Read More
Published on April 26, 2018
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Katie Hawley was a rising young soccer star when cancer hit at age 9. Now she balances a desire to be a “typical” teenager with the challenges of a life-threatening disease. By Candace Pearson At 18, Katie Hawley is such an expert at blending life as a teenager and... Read More
Published on April 19, 2018
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Even before Angelique Garcia was born, doctors at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles knew she had a severe form of congenital heart disease called complete atrioventricular canal defect (CAVC), thanks to a prenatal echocardiogram by CHLA cardiologist Jay Pruetz, MD. In a... Read More
Published on April 6, 2018
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A rare, polio-like illness called acute flaccid myelitis appeared on the national radar in 2014 and may be on track to return this summer and fall. Here is one family’s story, and a look at CHLA’s innovative, multidisciplinary approach. By Candace Pearson Like many parents... Read More
Published on March 20, 2018
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My name is Grace Rose and I’m 15 years old. I was born with cystic fibrosis, which is a life-threatening disease that attacks my lungs and digestive system. I need to be watched carefully and treated often. I’ve been going to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles since I was... Read More
Published on March 2, 2018
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Superheroes come in many shapes and sizes. In the movies and the comics, they’re most often big and strong, with bulging biceps and superpowers unlike anything we earthlings have ever seen. In real life, however, superheroes often look much different, their powers subtler... Read More
Published on February 23, 2018
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Jim Harrison, age 2 CHLA’s Home Mechanical Ventilation Program Marks 40th Anniversary There was a time when it was devastating news for a parent to learn that in order to survive, their child would need to be hospitalized and require assistance to breathe with a... Read More
Published on February 22, 2018
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By Katie Sweeney On a picture-perfect summer day at the lake in August 2016, William Lievense, then 9, stood at the edge of the dock, ready to jump gleefully into the water one more time. At that moment, his life was still the normal life he had always known. In that... Read More
Published on February 15, 2018
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After beating back two life-threatening illnesses, the resilient teenager has a new heart to take forward and a bout with cancer to leave behind. By Jeff Weinstock Consider this a chicken-and-egg discussion no one ever wanted to have, but knowing which came first, the... Read More
Published on February 6, 2018
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By Katie Sweeney Fifteen-year-old Zerkari Payne is back at school these days, hanging out with his friends again and “shooting some hoop.” The outgoing high school sophomore has more energy than he can ever remember. “I feel like a brand-new person,” Zerkari says. Still... Read More
Published on December 28, 2017
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By Sarah Brown For a 4-day-old infant, 3½ hours is a long time. For his mother, it feels like a lifetime—when he is having open-heart surgery to correct a congenital heart defect. Benjamin Clark was born at a healthy 9 pounds, 12 ounces on April 15 in Bakersfield,... Read More
Published on December 18, 2017
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On a bright, sunny weekend in March 2017, Aubrey and Tyler Kelly decided to celebrate their new family of five with a camping trip before the end of Tyler’s paternity leave. They piled their three kids—4-year-old Sierra; Pierce, not quite 2; and Harper, only 4-and-a-half... Read More
Published on December 15, 2017
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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 7, 2017
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By Katie Sweeney Have you ever found yourself thinking about someone who made a significant impact on your life? And have you wished that you could tell that person just how grateful you are? Fourteen-year-old Sydney has had those thoughts many times over the years—... Read More
Published on October 27, 2017
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In South Pasadena, patients with neuromuscular disease come together over baseball. By Matt Villano Everybody who knows 6-year-old Andrew Escamilla always expected he would play professional baseball someday. His father, a diehard Dodgers fan, took the boy to see... Read More
Published on October 3, 2017
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“Five fingers, five toes! Five fingers, five toes!” the doctor called out as he delivered little Julie Rose Osumi-Cabaya via C-section. “No cord around her neck; that’s great!” Then he casually added one more observation: “Cleft lip, cleft palate—no problem.” Julie’s... Read More
Published on September 5, 2017
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The 7-year-old philanthropist had a brainstorm: If there were patients who could not be brought to the story corner, she would bring the story corner to the patients.  By Jeff Weinstock Shira Josephson wrote a book this summer and says it took her “five, four or... Read More

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