On Feb. 6, 2010, I turned 14 years old. On this day, as I opened my cards full of cash I knew exactly what I wanted for my birthday. I took all of the money I received and donated it to the “Have a Part, Do Your Part” Radiothon. This meant that all of the money would go toward the expenses for patient care and medical equipment at Akron Children’s Hospital. Little did I know what would occur nearly 8 years later.
On Oct. 28, 2017, my family’s whole world changed. My younger sister Ally, who was 13 at the time, suffered from a rare brain condition known as arteriovenous malformation (a tangle of abnormal blood vessels connecting arteries and veins in the brain). Ally was unresponsive and underwent emergency brain surgery. Ally was then in a medically induced coma and on life support for over a week. At the time, the doctors were unsure of Ally’s survival.
I can only speak from the perspective as Ally’s oldest sister. Ally’s time spent in a coma felt never ending. My mom never left the hospital. My dad seemed to be in a daze. My other sister, Jordyn, seemed to be trying to do anything to distract herself.
I was consumed by what had happened to my sister. I couldn’t sleep at night, I couldn’t eat, and there was absolutely nothing else I could think about besides when I was coming back to the hospital each day. I felt so powerless. I remember begging God to please let me hear Ally’s voice again. I remember begging him not to do this to my parents. I remember begging him to take me instead.
My worst night was a few days after Ally had been in a coma. I just came back from the hospital with my heart broken after seeing my sister hooked up to so many machines. I went into ally’s room. I sat on the floor and just cried. I cried and cried and said, “I miss you.”
My family and I were incredibly fortunate with Ally’s outcome. Eventually, Ally became responsive. She was no longer the most critical patient in the PICU (pediatric intensive care unit). In late November, Ally was allowed to come home! This was 2 months earlier than expected! Since then, Ally has completed outpatient rehab and returned to school at the beginning of January! (read the Akron Beacon Journal article about Ally’s medical journey and the intervention of a prayer with Santa by a classmate.)
Akron Children’s Hospital is truly full of incredible individuals who will forever impact the lives of their patients and families. With that being said, I would like to ask for the same gift as my 14-year-old self: for you to consider making a donation to the “Have a Heart, Do Your Part” Radiothon. Every little bit counts! Donate on my Facebook page.
Editor’s Note: the 19th annual 98.1 KDD “Have a Heart, Do Your Part” Radiothon benefiting Akron Children’s Hospital will take place Feb. 8-10, 2018. There are many ways to get involved with Akron Children’s largest fundraiser, which benefits patient care, education and research programs at the hospital. For example, you can:
- Become a Change Bandit by enrolling online at akronchildrens.org/changebandit or by calling 330-543-8340.
- Make an online donation by visiting akronchildrens.org/radiothon.
- To donate during the Radiothon, call 330-543-0981 or 1-866-543-0981 to make a pledge.
- Text KDD to 41444 and donate from your smartphone.