Smoothing the Journey Through Diagnosis and Treatment

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Sarah Lustgarten suffers from a severe gastrointestinal motility condition that affects the movement of stomach muscles and restricts her ability to digest food. She’s a young adult with great appreciation for how Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) has over the years helped her navigate the daily challenges of this disorder — and she has her grandparents, Irma and Norman Braman, to thank.

Teen IBD patient undergoing examination Two generous $5 million gifts from the Bramans during the campaign For Tomorrow’s Breakthroughs launched and then helped expand the Suzi and Scott Lustgarten Center for GI Motility. The Lustgarten Center — named for the Bramans' daughter Suzi Braman Lustgarten and her husband, Scott — offers the nation’s most comprehensive clinical and research program in pediatric gastrointestinal motility disorders.

The Lustgarten Center has been game-changing for patients such as 13-year-old Akil. After severe GI symptoms put Akil in a Maryland hospital for weeks, motility experts at CHOP diagnosed him and developed an individualized treatment plan. Besides tending to Akil’s medical needs, the team included a social worker to help his family locate resources and a psychologist to develop a school reintegration plan.

Thanks to the Bramans, the center has been able to significantly grow its staff, including the addition of a second senior scientist with the center’s unique and innovative neurogastroenterology research program. Additional staff has augmented the strength and scope of the Lustgarten Center and expanded its ability to produce novel research necessary to improve the care of children with motility disorders.

In addition, support from the Suzi and Scott Lustgarten family foundation enabled the center to pioneer a new program to better assist young adults, like Sarah, as they move from pediatric to adult care.

“Getting an accurate diagnosis for a GI disorder is a long and challenging process, before doctors even begin to explore the right treatment,” says Norman Braman. “We want to help families through this painful journey and offer children everywhere happier childhoods and healthier futures.”

This is just one of the many stories of donor impact that happened during the campaign For Tomorrow’s Breakthroughs.

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