Published onChildren's View
By Nancy Andrews
We learned halfway through my pregnancy that our son Jack had a heart condition. He was born in CHOP’s Special Delivery Unit and has had two open-heart surgeries and a lot of plastic surgery on his skull. Now 9, he’s come a long way and is full of life and energy. He says, “If I didn’t have CHOP, I wouldn’t have a head as good as this!”
Our journey’s been very emotional. Jack’s facial and cranial surgeries will affect how he’ll be perceived throughout his whole life. From the start, we could feel the love CHOP staff have for every family. A wonderful parent liaison, Diana, kept us company in the waiting room during all of Jack’s surgeries. When we were at the hospital for a month after his birth, she would bring coffee for us and a stuffed animal or handmade blanket for Jack.
Meeting Dr. Jesse Taylor, Jack’s plastic surgeon, for the first time was equally incredible. He hugged us and said, “Welcome to the family.” That’s how he treats us. He gave us his cellphone number and even answered once while overseas when we needed advice. He’s really been a lifeline.
For Jack’s first birthday, we held a CHOP fundraiser at the sports bar we own to give back to a place that’s helped us so much. Family and friends helped us raise $1,000 that first year. Now Jack’s annual “superhero party” has grown really big. The town rallies around it, and local businesses donate raffle items. Everyone wears superhero costumes, including the musicians who donate their talent. About 40 bikers ride around the area collecting donations. It’s inspired so many in our community to give to CHOP, and over the past nine years, we’ve raised about $50,000.
Jack draws the raffle tickets and adores the attention. He says: “I love having friends and music at the party. It feels nice having all those people at the party helping CHOP, too.”
CHOP is much more than a medical facility. From the custodians to the department heads, everyone treats the kids with compassion and makes them feel special. They help kids feel safe and secure, even with so much happening. Jack’s never scared when going to CHOP. He thinks he’s a rock star because everyone high-fives him!
People come to CHOP from around the world for the best treatment available. Anything you can give to CHOP, no matter how small, helps save lives.