Gratitude Stories from Hasbro Children's Hospital
Even after successful treatment, the effects of pediatric cancer can be long lasting. Hasbro Children’s supports patients every step of the way through an array of programs and services, many of which are funded by donors. Pawtucket teen Leilani has benefitted from many of them, and says she is so grateful that the hospital is always there when she needs it.
Jessica Caputo and her husband, Rick, had a gut feeling that something was wrong with their toddler, Abby. She had stopped growing and was experiencing frequent headaches, as well as nausea and vomiting. And no amount of water could quench her thirst.
Life can change in an instant. The Rodrigues family experienced that first-hand last year on their way home from Edaville Family Theme Park the day after Thanksgiving.
A carefree summer day in their Cranston backyard quickly turned into a nightmare for Dan and his family. At a moment when he and his wife, Carolline, had their backs turned, their 8-year-old daughter, Daniella, fell while leapfrogging over putting-green flagpoles.
As three-year-old Amelia endured weeks of cancer treatment at Hasbro Children’s, nothing her family or caregivers did could make her smile. Then four-legged Moby arrived.
Lucrecia Gomez’s daughter, Debbie, spent the first six months of her life at Hasbro Children’s Hospital. Lucrecia, then just 15 years old, spent those months at the hospital, too—in many ways, growing up alongside her baby.
"We are so thankful for the care Teagan has received over the years at Hasbro Children’s Hospital. The staff always go above and beyond to put us at ease and make Teagan feel special. When we walk into that hospital, everyone knows my girl." — Kim Grant, Teagan’s mother
Hasbro Children’s Hospital has been part of 15-year-old Teagan Grant’s life since she was just a newborn.
Teagan was born prematurely, at 24 weeks, with Periventricular leukomalacia (PVL) – damage to the white matter in her brain. As a result of PVL, she spent the first months of her life in Hasbro Children’s intensive care unit being treated for several complications, including cerebral palsy.
When baby Teagan was finally ready to go home from the hospital for the first time at 7 months old, her mother Kim recalls, “The doctors and the nurses worked closely with my husband and me to make sure that we felt comfortable. We realized that the extra care our daughter needs would fall on us. And for that reason, we have relied on the support of Hasbro Children’s to this day.”
Over the years, Teagan has received treatment from specialists throughout the hospital, including pulmonologists, cardiologists, occupational therapists, and neurologists. She had a hip surgery at Hasbro Children’s, as well as a complex surgery to rebuild her trachea.
Teagan is non-verbal and communicates through a NOVAChat computer system, which her caregivers helped her obtain. “She is just fabulous with it, and it helps reduce her frustration,” Kim says.
Kim has been impressed by the excellent medical care her daughter has received at Hasbro Children’s and touched by the kindness of the staff, including Child Life specialists. They are always quick to make sure Teagan has a toy to play with or an engaging video to watch during a medical procedure, she says.
“The doctors and the therapists help Teagan grow a little bit happier and healthier every day,” Kim says. “They are like family to us.”
"The team at Hasbro Children's Hospital has been amazing. They follow up on everything and are always so patient with the questions I have. It was a hard road in the beginning for us, and we're just so grateful for the doctors and other medical staff. Thanks to them, we got through it." — Bobby’s mother, Courtney King
Courtney King was surprised when, in June 2020, she went into labor five weeks before her due date. She was even more surprised when she learned that her son, Bobby, was born with cleft lip and palate. The birth defect had not appeared on any of Bobby’s prenatal ultrasounds.
From his earliest days, Bobby struggled with complications due to the cleft lip and palate. He had hearing loss as a result of fluid buildup in his ears, and he had difficulty feeding and gaining weight.
After five days in the NICU at another hospital, Bobby was referred to the Cleft and Craniofacial Center at Hasbro Children’s. Through the center’s genetic testing, Courtney learned that Bobby has a rare genetic condition called Van der Woude syndrome, which caused him to develop cleft lip and palate.
When Bobby was four-months old, Chief of Pediatric Plastic Surgery Albert Woo, MD, FACS, successfully performed the baby’s first surgery – a cleft lip repair to fix the opening in his upper lip and optimize the symmetry of his nose.
Before the surgery Bobby had an orthopedic treatment called Nasoalveolar Molding (NAM), which reshapes the gum, lip, and nostrils by using dental molds and tape. The procedure was instrumental to his positive outcome, and Hasbro Children’s is one of the few institutions in New England that provides the treatment.
The following June, in 2021, Bobby underwent a second surgery to repair his cleft palate. Dr. Woo performed an innovative surgical technique he developed, which has been proven to improve long-term speech outcomes for patients.
Today, Bobby is thriving and living like a typical one-and-a-half-year-old. His hearing has normalized; he has started to talk; and he no longer has trouble eating. “He’s an endless eater – I can’t keep up,” Courtney says with a laugh.
"I made this painting to say thank you to Dr Luks. I hope it makes him and other people happy. He took care of me when I was sick and he was nice. Hasbro Children's Hospital means a lot to me because without their help I might have died." – Saoirse, Patient
In late 2015, when Saoirse was just two-and-a-half, Francois Luks, MD, Pediatric Surgeon-in-Chief performed emergency surgery to remove one of her kidneys and an adrenal gland after a Wilms tumor on her kidney had burst. Looking back, her mother Marcella says she cannot fully describe the shock and despair she felt when her daughter was diagnosed with stage 3-4 cancer and rushed into the operating room. After the surgery, Saoirse required several months of chemotherapy and radiation treatment.