Michelle's children, Katie and Matthew, are patients at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.

Michelle’s children, Katie and Matthew, are patients at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

I’m not sure what our lives would be like without Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Not only have my children and myself had lifesaving interventions here, but we have also been truly touched by our compassionate providers who have helped us through our darkest hours. It is traumatic to find out something is wrong with your baby, but knowing Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin is here — right here in our backyard — makes it a little bit easier.

A rocky start in life

Miracle Marathon for Children's Hospital of WisconsinMy daughter, Katie, was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), which essentially means that the left side of her heart is too small. She needed three open heart surgeries to reroute her blood flow. My son, Matthew, has tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow in many different organs. He has tumors in his heart, brain, kidneys and eye. The tumors are noncancerous, but definitely can still cause problems. In Matthew’s case, the diagnosis has also led to epilepsy, autism, ADHD, and polycystic kidney disease.

Needless to say, my kids have had a very rocky start in life. Open-heart surgeries for Katie, and infantile spasms — a particularly devastating type of seizure — for Matthew. Yet through it all, our doctors and nurses never lost hope. They do what is right for Katie and Matthew — finding the right treatment options for them.

But it doesn’t stop there, and that’s what I love about Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Our doctors and nurses are not only concerned with the surgery or controlling epilepsy but making certain that Katie and Matthew have an excellent quality of life. Activities like downhill skiing or riding a bike might come easily to many children but seemed insurmountable for Katie and Matthew when they were younger. Due to the outstanding care Katie and Matthew continue to receive at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, they are doing well and are able to do remarkable things. Their quality of life is excellent.

I am a patient here, too. I had two open-heart surgeries as a child, and now I am a patient in the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program. Life really would be different without Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, and that’s why we are so lucky to have it here.

Every donation makes a difference

Our family is looking forward to sharing our story May 26-27 on the Miracle Marathon for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. This is WKLH’s 19th amazing year of hosting the radiothon, which has raised more than $22 million since it began.

Pledge your support: Make an online donation right now.

Tune in to 96.5 WKLH during the Miracle Marathon to hear many incredible hospital stories from families like ours. Everyone can help support this great hospital, and every donation makes a difference. When you do, you help kids and families in our community, which means the world to this family. Thank you.

– Michelle McCardle, guest bloggerMcCardle_Michelle_headshot

Supporting Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin — whether through direct donations, event participation, fundraising or volunteerism — is the investment of a lifetime. When you make that investment, you are supporting critical and preventive care programs that make a difference in the lives of kids and families.

 

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