As a Hero of the Month coordinator here at Kids Wish Network, I get all sorts of great stories sent my way by child life specialists and other caretakers all the time. Each and every story is special and many of them really tug at your heartstrings; they’re all little heroes. Every now and then I’d like to share one or two with you all here on the blog just to show you the awesome kids out there living as heroes.
For now, I’d like to tell you about Melanie and Hunter…I’ll start with Hunter.
Hunter is an 8-year-old who was first sent to Lutheran Children’s Hospital because of complications from GI issues. He had a surgery, many tests and other procedures and finally even had his appendix removed. All of these surgeries, procedures, tests, needles, infections, tubes and medications initially scared Hunter, but he began to learn how to cope. At first, he would cry and cry, even refusing to hold his pet snake! After a while though, Hunter began to calm down and adjust, participating in medical play and beginning to smile again. When he went through a whole day without getting upset, he said, “I did not cry today!” However, despite his upturn, he began to get discouraged again after some more time in the hospital – that’s why his nurses nominated him to be a Hero of the Month. They thought he could use the boost of being called an “official” hero and, as you can see in the picture, it’s true! Hunter the Hero is happy again!
The second hero I wanted to tell you about for now is Melanie. She hurt her foot and ankle at the beginning of last year and, when she went to the hospital, her doctors found out she had a chronic pain disorder called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), for which there is no cure. This brave little girl has to deal with pain on a 24/7 basis that is resistant to many pain medications. That’s a lot for an adult, let alone a little girl! She’s also had to grit her teeth and endure countless hours of physical therapy. It’s amazing, but despite all that she’s been through, Melanie’s fighting spirit is still evident. She has now become an advocate for RSD awareness and even sells handmade items and awareness bracelets for fundraising events. Isn’t that amazing? That’s why the staff at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital nominated her as their Hero, because she truly is.
Aren’t they great? I love these little heroes.