How I worked with Project ADAM to get an AED in my school

Through Project ADAM, teen brings AED to her school

14-year-old MiKayla worked with Project ADAM to get an AED installed in her school to help prevent sudden cardiac arrest in children.

My name is MiKayla Person. I’m 14 years old and last year I learned that my school was missing something very important. It did not have an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), a portable electronic device that diagnoses potentially life-threatening cardiac problems.

Minutes can mean the difference between life and death when a student goes into cardiac …Click here to continue reading

Father’s Day: Dad shares story of his adopted daughter’s journey through Larsen syndrome

On this Father’s Day, I find myself reflecting back to 2010 and how this dream of fatherhood became a reality. Libbie was in China and my wife, Julie, and I were still looking for airline tickets, waiting on a date from the U.S. Consulate. Three weeks later we were approaching the Civil Affairs building in Zhengzhou, and I could feel myself getting nervous and …Click here to continue reading

Delivering a preemie: The story behind our Time magazine story

Melissa, Kyle and baby David

Melissa, Kyle and baby David

Our son David was born three months before his due date because I had a condition known as placenta previa. I went into pre-term labor and with every contraction, David’s heart rate dropped, creating a potentially deadly situation for him. After three days and two nights of this, he was born at 5:30 p.m. on January 28, weighing only 2 pounds, 11 ounces and measuring 15 ¼ inches long.

The scariest aspect of David’s early arrival was the fact that we were marching into the unknown, as David’s dad, Kyle, put it. We didn’t know if he would live or not, whether he would be healthy or have a lot of problems, how long he would have …Click here to continue reading

Lulu’s inspiring story: Support the Dave & Carole Miracle Marathon

My family has spent a lot of time at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin over the past two and a half years. My daughter Lulu was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) just one week before her fifth birthday, and our lives were forever changed.

No one could (or should) know the severe highs and lows our family experienced, and the …Click here to continue reading

My experience as a nurse and the parent of a sick child

Elliot

7-year-old Elliot

I was a nurse at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin for almost 10 years before I truly understood what it’s like to be “on the other side.” Yes, that’s what we call it.

It’s much easier being a nurse for a patient than it is being the parent of a patient. When we leave the hospital, our life gets back to normal. A parent does not get that same luxury.

This is an amazing place, filled with amazing people, but as a nurse I never wanted to be one of the parents on the other …Click here to continue reading

How child life specialists helped my kids during their emergency room visits

My daughter's dog bite to her face

A dog bit Paeton’s face.

As a mom, I like having a plan and checking things off my list. I also like to see my plans coming to fruition. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned since being a mom, it’s that nothing goes as planned.

Since August, I’ve found myself sitting in the emergency room of Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin not once, but twice with two of my three children. Both situations were not in my plan.

I sat there both times feeling anxious and worried, but forcing a brave face for the sake of my hurting children. Even though I didn’t have a plan, I knew Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin did — thanks to their amazing …Click here to continue reading

Growing up with a new heart, a new life

Vincent gets a new heartMy name is Vincent, and I am 14 years old. One week before my seventh birthday, I had a heart transplant at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. People made a big deal about it, because I was the first kid in the upper Midwest to receive a Berlin heart.

A Berlin heart is a fake heart that you wear on the outside of your body. It keeps you alive while you wait for a transplant. I was out of the hospital in just 10 days! Now, I get to …Click here to continue reading

Thank you Children’s Hospital for making my daughter feel like a star

Lily and Bailey are twin sistersIt was a once in a lifetime experience. A few weeks ago my daughters, Lily and Bailey, had the opportunity to participate in a video shoot for a Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin TV commercial — airing now through the holiday season.

For my entire family, including big sister Maddie, it was a fun and exciting experience. But more importantly, it was an opportunity for them to help other kids by raising awareness …Click here to continue reading

Why it doesn’t always take a brain surgeon to explain brain surgery

As a pediatric neurosurgeon, I help children with a wide range of neurological conditions. It can be a challenge explaining diseases and illnesses that affect the brain to families. That’s why when I came across Isabelle’s video on YouTube, I thought, I couldn’t have said …Click here to continue reading

Why I created Team Joey and participate in Briggs & Al’s Run & Walk

Joey spent 74 days at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

Joey is now 20 months old.

On Dec. 13, 2011, my son Joseph “Joey” Raymond Esselmann was unexpectedly born at 26 weeks gestational age. He weighed 1 pound, 15 ¾ ounces and was 13 inches long.

The doctors were unsure if Joey would survive, and if he did, whether he would have long-term complications. He spent …Click here to continue reading