Pediatric patient stories

  1. 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 [...]

  2. 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 [...]

  3. 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 [...]

  4. Abby and Belle Carlsen: Three Years Later

    Abbigail and Isabelle Carlsen of Fargo, North Dakota, returned to Mayo Clinic yesterday and today with their parents Jesse and Amy for their three-year checkups. The formerly conjoined twins were separated at Mayo Clinic on May 12, 2006 in a daylong operation. Reporter Matt Russell from the Rochester Post-Bulletin interviewed the family after the girls’ last [...]

  5. Rehab Program Helps Texas Teen Learn to Manage Chronic Pain

    Austin Horton’s adolescence was dominated by pain. More than a dozen specialists — among them an orthopedist, rheumatologist, pain doctor, psychiatrist and acupuncturist — couldn’t offer much relief or even a definitive reason for the pain. Relief finally came from the Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation Program at Mayo Clinic’s Rochester campus. “It helped me get my [...]

  6. 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 [...]

  7. 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 [...]

  8. Danielle Roeder

    Jubilant First Steps

    Greg and Suzanne Roeder were in tears when their daughter took her first steps. It's natural to get choked up when a child demonstrates her vertical independence. But the Roeders were especially emotional because Danielle was seven years old when she made those monumental strides. Danielle once needed to use a wheelchair, but was freed [...]

  9. Nick

    From Wheelchair to Rock-Climbing in 3 weeks!

    Having gone to several doctors elsewhere without receiving answers, this previously athletic student, Nick, and his mom, Becky, arrived to Mayo Clinic. They were exhausted. Nick was bundled up in many layers and in a wheelchair. Five minutes into his first appointment, Dr. Phil Fischer diagnosed Nick with POTS and Autonomic Dysfunction. He started the three-week Pediatric Pain [...]

  10. Roman’s Road to a Second Birthday

    Faced with losing their newborn son, Anna and Oleg, searched far and wide for an answer. They found it and a new birthday for their son at Mayo Clinic. After an ultrasound at 32 weeks into her pregnancy, Anna Ryabova, along with her husband, Oleg Pecherskii, faced a grim prognosis for their unborn son. "The [...]

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