Pediatric patient stories

  1. Beads of Courage

    We are proud to say that the Pediatric Oncology Nurses/Nurse Practitioners implemented the Beads of Courage Program at Mayo Clinic using money received from the Kids Cup in 2008.  The program is a resilience-based intervention designed to support and strengthen children and families dealing with a serious illness.  The children tell their story of treatment [...]

  2. Carter with his parents Kyle and Holly and his twin sister, Breah

    Carter's cranium remolding

    Carter Schlink has a twin sister, Breah. As babies, they were alike in many ways — both incredibly cute, similar button noses and fair complexion. When the twins were 2 months old, Carter's dad, Kyle, noticed something about his son that was different — his head shape. It was flatter on the back and a [...]

  3. Caleb Ragaller and his family

    Small Bump becomes Big Problem

    What began as a small, painless bump turned into a grueling 9.5-hour surgery for 3-year-old Caleb Ragaller (now 6). Caleb was born with a nasal dermoid cyst. Because superficial dermoid cysts are typically slow-growing and can be removed without complication, Caleb’s treatment plan appeared to be pretty straightforward. “We would go in for normal checkups [...]

  4. A Second Opinion for Trevor

    Shortly after he was born in early 2008, Trevor King was diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome, a condition that could cause sudden cardiac death. He may be the youngest patient ever to get a pacemaker-defibrillator, a device that sends an electric shock to the heart when it detects a potentially life-threatening heart rhythm. But in [...]

  5. Teen Perseveres Surgeries to Straighten Legs

    Last year, when Dr. Amy McIntosh watched me walk down the hall with my extremely bowed legs, it was obvious to her that I needed surgery. Without the surgery, my legs would be subject to joint and knee pain when I got older. It was my senior year in high school, and I was a [...]

  6. Ali Szewczynski

    Pen pals share experiences with congenital heart defects

    Born almost 60 years apart, pen pals Carol Allan and Alli Szewczynski share an unusual bond. Both were “blue babies,” born with heart defects that impaired proper blood circulation, causing a blue tinge to their skin. And both had successful life-changing surgeries at Mayo Clinic. Carol Allan’s story Carol, 68, of Calgary, Alberta, was diagnosed [...]

  7. Dr. Michael Ackerman and Stefani

    A Prom Promise Kept

    As an 8-year-old girl from Michigan was headed into surgery for a heart transplant, she asked Mike Ackerman -- a pediatric cardiology fellow at Mayo who was part of her care team -- if she was going to live. Dr. Ackerman said, "Of course you're going to live, and I'm going to dance with you [...]

  8. Proton Beam Therapy Gives Young Girl Good Prognosis Despite (Frightening) Diagnosis

    It's one thing to teach compassionate communication. It's another thing altogether to be on the receiving end of, "Your daughter has cancer." Learn how proton beam therapy gave Sherry Chesak, Ph.D., and her family hope.  Sherry Chesak, Ph.D., is a program director in Education and Professional Development at Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus, and has worked [...]

  9. Grateful Family Says Mayo Clinic Care and Ketogenic Diet Brought Their Son Back To Them

    Less than a year ago, four-year-old Max Irvine was having hundreds of seizures a day … he couldn't walk, talk or chew his food. A previously healthy and active preschooler, Max has epilepsy. The Irvines were told by one epilepsy specialist that their son would become mentally incompetent from his seizures. Thankfully, they refused to [...]

  10. Jayden Gonzalez and his parents

    Toddler diagnosed with aggressive brain tumor

    Viola and Felipe Gonzalez were stunned when their youngest son's persistent flu-like symptoms were diagnosed as a brain tumor. The vomiting, holding his head while crying and unsteadiness weren't just a toddler's brush with the flu bug. A CT scan at the local pediatrician's office showed a mass the size of a quarter on Jayden's [...]

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