Patient Hero Alumni
Each year, our Summer Scamper Patient Heroes inspire our race participants and volunteers, sharing their stories of hope. We are so grateful to our past Patient Heroes and welcome them into our Summer Scamper Patient Hero Alumni Association. They are wonderful examples of the difference your participation in Summer Scamper makes in the lives of our patients and their families.
Meet our 2015 Patient Hero Alumni:
Ten-year-old Jacksen is a Summer Scamper stalwart, participating and fundraising for the past three years. His family says they are thankful for the outstanding care Jacksen has received following his 2007 diagnosis with Pompe disease, a neuromuscular disorder linked with an enzyme deficiency. Jacksen receives infusions at our hospital to help combat the disease's symptoms of muscle weakness and respiratory challenges. Jacksen's dad, David, says, "The hospital is like family to us. We love all of you; thanks for all you do."
Ray's mom, Emily, says, "We Scamper to raise money to support Autism Research at the hospital in honor of Ray, the most amazing 10-year-old that I know! Despite the many challenges presented by autism, he has continued to grow into a wonderfully happy and outgoing boy who has taught me so much about myself along the way. I can't imagine this world without him, and I know that he will grow into an adult who will accomplish many great things."
Each year, Iris, Ken, and their family celebrate the June 25th birthday of her firstborn daughter Harumi, who passed away in 2005 after spending 13 weeks in our hospital's NICU and PICU. They named their youngest daughter Haruka Lucile after our founder, Lucile Packard, and say they use Scamper as a way to heal and teach their two children about the importance of Harumi and their extended hospital family.
In 2011, Breezy was diagnosed with osteosarcoma right above her left knee. Treatment started immediately, including aggressive chemotherapy and physical removal of the entire tumor and a significant part of Breezy's femur. At the age of 9, Breezy bravely chose to amputate her leg so she could maximize the outlook for being physically active and try to minimize the return of cancer. Breezy says she is so thankful that her treatment was all done at our hospital and for all the wonderful doctors and nurses who cared for her so well.
When Jesse was just 3 months old, he underwent a successful, five-hour open heart surgery at the hospital to repair a congenital heart defect. Today, 4-year-old Jesse loves to go to preschool, play in the park, ride his bike, and hang out with his older brother Jack.
In 2014, Jesse and his family participated in the Summer Scamper and raised more than $2,500 for the hospital's Children's Heart Center to support other heart patients. "We are so thankful for Dr. Reddy, the nursing staff, and all of the community members who give to the hospital!" says Jesse's mom, Cynthia. "Thank you to all the Summer Scamper-ers for supporting our son Jesse!"
At 4 years old, Mary Gaughan entered a multiple food allergy oral immunotherapy trial. Before the trial, a spoonful of milk sent her to the emergency room. Three years later, Mary Gaughan is a "graduate" of this food allergy trial and her life is forever changed. She loves that she can now go to birthday parties and enjoy cake with her friends.
Will was born three months before his due date, at only 24 weeks and 5 days into his mom's pregnancy. He was a micro-premie — defined as a baby born weighing less than 1 pound, 12 ounces, or before 26 weeks gestation. He endured several serious infections, septic shock, chronic lung disease, retinopathy of prematurity, patent ductus arteriosus, and silent aspiration. What helped his parents — especially in the early days of his NICU stay — were his amazing caregivers.
Now 2 years old, Will continues to fight battles every day that are typically taken for granted —drinking from a cup, sitting, walking, talking. But he also loves to color, drives his parents crazy with his fake coughs, bats his enviable long eyelashes, and gives hugs like nobody's business. His mom Brittany says, "Will has touched so many and reminds us each day that where there's a will, there's a way!"
Doris' lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis, which included needing oxygen 24/7, hasn't kept her from becoming a legend in her elementary school in Menlo Park. She is known as "The Lipstick Girl" — as she never leaves the house without a layer of her favorite gloss.
Doris will never forget June 3, 2014, the day she received the call from pulmonologist Carlos Milla, MD: a set of donor lungs became available, only two weeks before her 9th birthday. "I was praying to get a lung transplant before my birthday. When I got the call, I was crying and scared and happy all together," she says. After her double lung transplant, Doris was able to take deep breaths for the first time in her life.
Even as a busy college student at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, Miranda still finds time for another important priority: supporting the hospital, the place that gave her a second chance at life.
Miranda's family first came to our hospital in 1995, when she was just 2 months old and gravely ill with biliary atresia, a serious congenital disease that leads to liver failure. Baby Miranda received a successful liver transplant and spent nearly a month recovering at the hospital. Her dedicated care team became like extended family, following her closely through regular checkups and helping her overcome post-transplant complications that could have had a tragic outcome. Today, Miranda attributes her good health to the outstanding lifetime of care she received at our hospital.
Fourteen-year-old Jacob, aka The Leukemia Slayer, has a legion of fans that rallied behind him as he beat cancer at our Bass Center for Childhood Cancers and Blood Diseases. Today, cancer-free Jacob shares his strength and optimism with others, raising money and collecting toys for patients at our hospital and others.
"When I was still in front line treatment and was kind of feeling sad that I had cancer, I told my mom and dad I needed some inspiration in my life," Jacob says. "They told me the best way to feel better is to help someone else feel good, so I started thinking about what I could do to make someone else happy." Now, Jacob and his family have a new life in North Carolina, but continue to support our hospital as Summer Scamper Virtual Racers.