I joined the Ashford Park Friends group the first year it started. As a busy working mom and small business owner, I had limited time to contribute. My favorite activity to be involved with was decorating mailboxes for the Mailbox Brigade. It brought out my crafty side and the mailboxes looked so beautiful.
In February of 2017, my three-year-old daughter was diagnosed with brain cancer. She relapsed six months later. Thanks largely to Children’s, she is currently doing well, back at school, and we take life one day at a time. Today, the mailboxes have so much more meaning to me personally. Not only do they make our neighborhood festive, but they are a constant reminder of support. I drive through the neighborhood thinking “thank you, thank you, thank you” as I pass each mailbox.
I thank each of you for purchasing a mailbox and each of you who volunteer to decorate them. Don’t forget they make great gifts! Supporting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta means the world to our family. Thank you for supporting and contributing to the hospital that gave us our daughter back and continues to care for her. To watch a video on Caroline’s story click here.
Born on May 13, 2014, Fenton is the baby of his family. From the start, his personality was an easy read: he would not settle for being the little one! He does things his own way, in his own time, and with maximum curiosity. He loves life and learning. Fenton graduated into Pre-Kindergarten at The Glenn School in May of 2018 and summer was off to a good start. He was loving the long days and pool time while his family worked packing their house to move to a new neighborhood. Fenton celebrated his 4th birthday at a playground party. Then, on a Saturday morning one month later, he woke up complaining of headaches and neck pain. He headed to the ER after he lost feeling in his right hand. Quickly, he was admitted to ICU at Children’s Egleston Hospital where an MRI diagnosed him with a rare disorder called Transverse Myelitis. Later, the CDC confirmed his condition to be the more debilitating Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM), one of four cases in Georgia and nearly 200 nationwide in 2018. Fenton’s spine was impaired with inflammation that quickly destroyed tissue including nerve conduits to his extremities. His entire body became paralyzed one week into the hospital stay. Specialists tried to unearth the reason by testing for viruses, infectious diseases, and autoimmune disorders. All the lab work was negative.
Now a year later, Fenton remains paralyzed above the waist and ventilator dependent requiring constant care. The AFM condition is alarming the medical research community in its likeness to polio. It is believed to be a summer respiratory virus that certain children (typically young males) lack a gene to defend. As such, physicians predict Fenton’s outlook by comparing him to patients impaired by polio generations ago. There is a degree of permanence, but fortunately technology has improved and means of sophisticated care are much more accessible today than years ago.
Today, Fenton’s life is built upon a weekly therapy schedule. With electrical stimulation and consistent movement, children like Fenton show strengthening and subtle, yet meaningful muscle improvements over time. His family has watched the progression of his legs coming back online, now up to his hips. Fenton chases opportunities to work with specialists in Philadelphia and Baltimore and his caregiving team stays prepared to follow any new lead along his course. While the future will be different for Fenton, his family feels so fortunate to have him here impacting new lives in very meaningful ways. Fenton is a complete ray of light. He provides hope in the face of fear and replaces sadness with smiles. He is a resilient boy with a wonderful spirit.
Fenton received the first Boo of the season at his therapy appointment a few weeks ago. Support kids like Fenton by buying a Boo sign!
Fenton received the first Boo sign of the season at his therapy session a few weeks ago. Support kids like Fenton and buy a Boo!