An iPad for Enrique!

On Thanksgiving day 2013, Enrique began having stomach pains off and on with fevers that came and went throughout the day. The pains continued over the holiday weekend and we took him to our family doctor on Monday morning. The doctor thought he was suffering from constipation but was suspicious about the fever that kept coming and going. By Tuesday evening, Enrique had lost all appetite and only wanted to sleep. We took him to the ER and were shocked to find out that he had leukemia. He was rushed over to Helen Devos Children’s Hospital to have immediate blood transfusion and chemo started. It was here that we found out he had “type T, ALL leukemia”, the most common and most curable form of leukemia. His white blood count was out of control, and we were scared that he would start to have organ failure/complications.

Fortunately he was being taken care of by the best doctors in our area. They were able to get everything under control and a few hours after arriving (but it felt like an eternity to my husband and me) we were already getting news of how well he was responding to the treatments. Only one week later he was allowed to go home. He looked so much better than he had just a few days ago.

It is one month later and Enrique continues to show great results to his treatments, in fact we just recently received the wonderful news that he is now in remission. We have a 3 year journey ahead of us before he can be considered cancer free and cured, but we enjoy everything with a whole new perspective now. All the little things in life that we had taken for granted a month ago bring so much joy to us now.

HHH Update: We were lucky enough to meet with Enrique in December and give him a new iPad mini, thanks to the generosity of HHH donors. And, most importantly, we are happy to report that Enrique is responding well to treatments!

Enrique is enjoying the ipad mini he received from HHH! He especially enjoys facetiming with his friends and cousins when his immune system is too weak due to chemo to see them in person. Enrique also likes to play games, watch movies and even get some school work done on his ipad mini, which is protected stylishly inside a blue Angry Birds case!

Also, below is one of Enrique’s school writing assignments where he had to write about a time when he was surprised. His mother said that he knew right away that he was going to write about the iPad mini he got from HHH!

Meet Our Friend Rian!

Meet Rian as told by his mom, Allison:
Rian was born at 23 weeks. My water had broken around 16 weeks. He was born on 12/12/12, we were told he probably wouldn’t live through the night. But much to our surprise, he made it! After 372 days in the Helen Devos NICU, we were finally able to bring him home on 12/19/13! We were able to spend a beautiful Christmas with him. After spending 20 amazing days with him at home, he went home to Heaven. His dad & I miss him very much but nothing will ever steal his memories from us, not even death. We love him more than words could ever express!

Added by HHH-

When we were contacted by the Child Life Specialist of the NICU to see if a birthday party fell within the scope of our mission, we were so pleased to be able to help a baby in this department in part because our own Ella had spent her early days in the NICU too.

It was a startling realization, however, when we thought about what it meant that a baby in the NICU was celebrating his first birthday… still in the NICU.

The Child Life Specialist passed on a few photos and ideas for a Very Hungry Caterpillar themed party. Rian’s mother had humbly asked for some cute paper plates and decorations and we knew that she and the other party guests were going to be in for a surprise when they walked into the conference room doctors had okayed for Rian to visit for a short time for the celebration.

Thanks to your support, the conference room was transformed into a party befitting the monumental occasion! There were decorations on the walls an
d ceiling, a personalized banner, gourmet cake, cupcakes and an individual cake for the guest of honor!

Guests (including hospital staff!) were invited to sign an autograph-able plush caterpillar and enjoy as many slices of gourmet pizza they could eat, all while sitting in the company of a 4 foot long plush hungry caterpillar.

What an honor to be a part of such a special celebration. We were so saddened to hear of Rian’s passing and once again touched by the grace of Rian’s mother who asked that he still be featured as one of our Kids of the Year. Rian and his family have touched our hearts and we will never forget this sweet one year old that so clearly brought joy to those that got to know him.

Power Wheels for Carter!

Meet Carter as told by his mom, Kellie:

Carter Rosenberg is your average 5 year old little boy. He loves Angry Birds and Despicable Me and he says his favorite thing to do is play Angry birds Star Wars with big brother Ethan on the Wii. Carter leads anything but a typical 5 year old life though. Carter’s days start with a tube feeding of a special Elemental formula through his Gastrostomy tube in his stomach. Carter was diagnosed with Eosinophilic Esophagitis at age 2 after many months of searching for a diagnosis to explain why he was not tolerant of food. Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE) is an auto-immune disease that causes the body to send white blood cells to the esophagus to attack food proteins as if they are foreign. It causes inflammation and pain in the esophagus as well as nausea and vomiting and choking. Carter’s EoE is severe in that he is only able to safely tolerate 3 foods: rice, banana, and blueberries. Carter receives an EGD scope and biopsies of his esophagus and stomach every 6 weeks to see how food is being tolerated. You can read more about EoE here.

When Carter was given his brand new Gator Power Wheels he was absolutely ecstatic! He couldn’t believe he was going to get to drive around his neighborhood in this cool new toy that would be all his Carter’s favorite thing about the gator is that he can go SUPER FAST!!! The Rosenberg family sends a huge thank you to HHH for giving Carter a carefree experience like riding around really fast in his shiny new toy during a time in his life that is full of scary things he can’t control. Thanks HHH!