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Mike Bratten, (361) 548-6073

Annual Cattlemen's RoundUp benefiting Driscoll Children's Hospital coming to Cuero

July 29, 2011
CUERO - On Tuesday, August 9, young 4-H members and the DeWitt County Extension Office will team up for a great cause. The 24th annual South Texas Cattlemen's RoundUp benefiting Driscoll Children's Hospital will begin at 6 p.m. at the Cuero VFW Hall, 934 U.S. Highway 183 N.

A silent auction will be held showcasing a variety of products and services that will appeal to guests, including plants, baked goods, livestock feed and other items from local businesses. Members of 4-H will offer a variety of homemade baked goods. All of this year's proceeds will go toward new medical equipment and other items for Driscoll Children's Hospital.

To make a donation and support local 4-H students and their life-saving efforts, you can visit the Driscoll Children's Hospital web site at www.driscollchildrens.org, call Driscoll at (361) 694-6401 or call the DeWitt County Extension Office at (361) 275-0816.

  • What: 24th annual South Texas Cattlemen's RoundUp

  • When: 6 p.m. Tuesday, August 9

  • Where: Cuero VFW Hall, 934 U.S. Highway 183 N.

  • Information: (361) 694-6401 or (361) 275-0816

Alice RoundUp to benefit Driscoll Children's Hospital

July 21, 2011
ALICE - On Tuesday, July 26, young 4-H members and the Jim Wells County Extension Office will team up for a great cause. The 24th annual South Texas Cattlemen's RoundUp benefiting Driscoll Children's Hospital will begin at 11 a.m. at the Gulf Coast Livestock Auction in Alice.

A variety of products and services will be auctioned at the RoundUp that will appeal to visitors, like ranching supplies, baked goods, arts and crafts, gift cards, barbecue packages and hunter's equipment. Young members of 4-H will offer a variety of homemade goods. All of this year's proceeds will go toward new medical equipment and other items for Driscoll Children's Hospital.

To make a donation and support local 4-H students and their life-saving efforts, you can visit the Driscoll Children's Hospital web site at www.driscollchildrens.org, call Driscoll at (361) 694-6401 or call the Jim Wells County Extension Office at (361) 668-5705.

  • What: 24th annual South Texas Cattlemen's RoundUp

  • When: 11 a.m. Tuesday, July 26

  • Where: Gulf Coast Livestock Auction, Alice

  • Information: (361) 668-5705 or (361) 694-6401

Library of specialized toys available to children with disabilities

July 18, 2011
Specialized toys from Driscoll's Toy Tech Lending Library are therapeutic for patients like Emilio, 5, who has tuberous sclerosis and epilepsy. Assisting him are Rachel Garcia, certified occupational therapy assistant (middle) and Amanda Germann, speech pathologist.
Specialized toys from Driscoll's Toy Tech Lending Library are therapeutic for patients like Emilio, 5, who has tuberous sclerosis and epilepsy. Assisting him are Rachel Garcia, certified occupational therapy assistant (middle) and Amanda Germann, speech pathologist.
CORPUS CHRISTI - It has been said that children learn best through play. With this in mind, and with support from the Easter Seals of Greater Houston and the Blanche Moore Foundation, Driscoll Children's Hospital's Rehabilitation Services Department created a unique library that loans specialized toys to children of all ages with all types of disabilities.

According to Susan Fields, director of Rehabilitation Services at Driscoll, children explore their environment through play. "When we can help them play independently, we are helping them become independent learners. This is an important foundation for developing life skills," she says.

The new Toy Tech Lending Library at Driscoll provides a variety of toys adapted for children with varying degrees of motor disabilities. The toys, which are switch activated, can be used at home to practice skills a child has learned in his or her therapy sessions.

Since these toys are adapted especially for children with handicaps, they aren't readily available at a toy store and are often expensive.

A $30 toy, when adapted, can easily cost $100. However, through Driscoll's Lending Library, families are able to check out these adapted toys at no cost.

Just as with a book library, the toys are checked out for two to four weeks at a time. Upon return, another toy can be checked out. About 20 toys are available, and not just to Driscoll patients. All children in the community with disabilities are invited to borrow toys from the Toy Tech Lending Library.

Mary Ann Sosa's granddaughter, Madison, 5, is a patient at Driscoll. She suffers from cerebral palsy and often borrows toys from the Lending Library.

"It's a great thing. It really helps at home," Sosa says. "We are able to work at home on the things her therapists want her to work on. Right now she's learning to use her arms more."

Sosa explains that the toys make Madison want to use her arms more because of the reaction she gets from her grandmother.

"When Madison pushes the button on a toy, she notices it plays music and I cheer her on. She loves the attention she gets!"

Fields hopes more families take advantage of the Lending Library.

"We just started offering toys for check-out in April, so it's a fairly new program," she says. "The more these toys are utilized, the more toys we are able to receive through the grant."

For more information or to set up an orientation to the Toy Tech program, please call Driscoll's Rehabilitation Services Department at (361) 694-5678.

Santa Claus is coming to Brownsville in July

July 18, 2011
BROWNSVILLE - It's Christmas in July at Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Brownsville! The Brownsville Driscoll Volunteer Auxiliary will hold its 5th annual Christmas in July event Thursday, July 21 from 6 to 8 p.m. The community is invited to stop by and drop off an unwrapped toy to help ensure that all patients who receive treatment this coming holiday season will have a toy to take home. Santa Claus will be there to receive the toys.

"This is always such an amazing event, especially to see the Driscoll volunteers and the Brownsville community come together by donating toys in order to make certain our patients have an extra special Christmas," said Lizette Saenz, director of Volunteer Services for Driscoll Children's Hospital.

To make a donation to this worthwhile effort or to show your support, stop by Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Brownsville on Thursday or call the Volunteer Services Department at (361) 694-5011. Checks may be made out to Driscoll Children's Specialty Center Auxiliary.

  • What: Christmas in July

  • When: 6-8 p.m. Thursday, July 21

  • Where: Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Brownsville, 5500 N. Expressway 77/83

  • Information: (361) 694-5011

Memory of late cousin prompts businessman to donate $150,000 nuclear camera to Driscoll clinic in McAllen

July 12, 2011
McALLEN - A Houston businessman has donated a gamma camera used for diagnosing cancer and other diseases to Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen in memory of his late cousin, who was treated for leukemia at Driscoll Children's Hospital in 1977.

"I feel if you're not giving you're not living," said Richard Armijo, president of Advanced Nuclear Consultants LLC, a company that refurbishes gamma cameras and other equipment used to diagnose diseases. "I wanted to do something in memory of my cousin and Driscoll was the first hospital that came to my mind."

The gamma camera will enable pediatric radiologists at Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen to perform nuclear medicine procedures such as renal, bone and lung scans. The procedures involve injecting a radioactive substance into the patient's body, capturing the energy it emanates with the camera and viewing the image on a computer screen. Radiologists then interpret the image and assist Driscoll's pediatric surgeons in treating the patient.

Armijo will be formally recognized for his donation during a ceremony at the Medical Plaza at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 13. Driscoll officials will present him a plaque in appreciation.

Measuring about 12 by 12 feet, the gamma camera fills a room at the Medical Plaza. It is valued at over $150,000, Armijo said.

"It's a wonderful addition to the services Driscoll offers in the Rio Grande Valley," said Jan Kottke, clinic administrator at Driscoll. "We're very grateful for this generous donation."

Armijo said his late cousin, Astrid Claudia Hewitt, was 13 years old when she passed away from leukemia in Houston in 1984. He carried her memory throughout his life, as well as gratitude for the treatment she received at Driscoll Children's Hospital. Now, with a wife, three daughters, a son on the way and a growing business, it's time to help others like Driscoll helped his cousin, Armijo said.

"I've been blessed with my business and my family and I want to pass those blessings on to the children of South Texas."

  • What: Ceremony recognizing Richard Armijo

  • When: 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 13

  • Where: Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen, 1120 E. Ridge Rd.

Cortez becomes executive director of Driscoll's Rio Grande Valley clinics

July 05, 2011
Laura Cortez
Laura Cortez
RIO GRANDE VALLEY - Laura Cortez has joined Driscoll Children's Hospital as executive director of the hospital's Rio Grande Valley clinics. She will oversee operations at Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen, Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Brownsville and Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Harlingen.

Cortez brings a wealth of healthcare management experience to Driscoll. She previously served for eight years as director of Women's Health Services for the South Texas Health System.

Shortage of donor breast milk affecting Driscoll

July 05, 2011
CORPUS CHRISTI - The Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin, which provides donated, pasteurized human breast milk to neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) throughout Texas and other states, is experiencing a shortage that is affecting the supply at Driscoll Children's Hospital.

"The shortage is due to a lack of donors and a lack of community awareness about the Mothers' Milk Bank," said Driscoll Lactation Program Coordinator Laurie Beck, RN, MSN, IBCLC. "We always try to keep extra donor milk in our freezer so as to be prepared for any new admissions. The babies we have on donor milk at present do not have mothers who are able to provide their own milk."

Beck said she has been trying to order 200 bottles of donor milk a week for Driscoll patients but has only been able to obtain 50 bottles at a time. Each bottle contains three ounces of milk.

Mother's milk is the preferred choice of nutrition for babies and donor milk is the second, Beck said. The Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin screens all potential donors to ensure safety, pasteurizes the milk and freezes it as a sterile product. NICUs in 14 states order the milk for critically ill newborns, especially preemies.

Lactating mothers can help by donating their milk. The first step is to call the Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin at 1-877-813-6455 for a phone interview. After completing an application process, they can drop off their milk at Mom's Place at Driscoll Children's Hospital, 3533 S. Alameda St., between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Mom's Place is a drop-off site for the Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin and a storehouse for breast milk that is used to feed infants at Driscoll. It is also a breastfeeding resource center for mothers with a baby in Driscoll and a private place for them to pump milk.

For more information about the milk donation process, mothers can call Beck at (361) 694-5338 or go to the Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin's web site at www.milkbank.org.

Cattlemen's RoundUp will appeal to ranchers, visitors alike

June 27, 2011
RIO GRANDE CITY - On Friday, July 8, young 4-H members and the Starr County Extension Office will team up for a great cause. The 24th annual South Texas Cattlemen's RoundUp benefiting Driscoll Children's Hospital's Rio Grande Valley clinics will begin at 11 a.m. at R.Y. Livestock Sales, Inc., 12 Livestock Rd. in Rio Grande City.

A variety of products and services will be auctioned at the RoundUp that will appeal to ranchers and visitors alike, such as agricultural products, gardening supplies, arts and crafts, hardware supplies and jewelry. Young members of 4-H will offer a variety of homemade baked goods. All of this year's proceeds will be used to support Driscoll's clinics in the Rio Grande Valley, including Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen, Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Brownsville and Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Harlingen.

To make a donation and support local 4-H students and their life-saving efforts, you can visit the Driscoll Children's Hospital web site at www.driscollchildrens.org, call Driscoll at (956) 223-0687 or call the Starr County Extension Office at (956) 487-2306 or (956) 534-4911.

  • What: 24th annual Cattlemen's RoundUp

  • When: 11 a.m. Friday, July 8

  • Where: R.Y. Livestock Sales, Inc., 12 Livestock Rd., Rio Grande City

  • Information: (956) 487-2306, (956) 534-4911 or (956) 223-0687

Beeville RoundUp to benefit Driscoll Children's Hospital

June 16, 2011
BEEVILLE - On Friday, June 24, young 4-H members in Bee County and the Beeville Livestock Commission will team up for a great cause. The 24th annual South Texas Cattlemen's RoundUp benefiting Driscoll Children's Hospital will begin at noon at the Beeville Livestock Commission on Highway 59.

A variety of products and services will be auctioned at the RoundUp that will appeal to ranchers, homemakers and visitors alike. Young members of 4-H will offer a variety of homemade goods. All of this year's proceeds will go toward new medical equipment and other items for Driscoll Children's Hospital.

To make a donation and support local 4-H students and their life-saving efforts, you can visit the Driscoll Children's Hospital web site at www.driscollchildrens.org, call Driscoll at (361) 694-6401 or the Bee County Extension Office at (361) 362-3280.

  • What: 24th annual Cattlemen's RoundUp

  • When: Noon Friday, June 24

  • Where: Beeville Livestock Commission, Highway 59

  • Information: (361) 362-3280 or (361) 694-6401

Brownsville family's fighting spirit aiding boy battling cancer

June 13, 2011
Matthew Carroll, 8, of Brownsville, is battling osteosarcoma, a cancer that caused him to lose his left leg from the knee down.
Matthew Carroll, 8, of Brownsville, is battling osteosarcoma, a cancer that caused him to lose his left leg from the knee down.
CORPUS CHRISTI - Ada Escobedo will never forget the date: Dec. 15, 2010. That's when, half in shock, she drove her 8-year-old son, Matthew Carroll, from their home in Brownsville to Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi to have a tumor checked out in his left leg. They had just seen an orthopedic specialist in Brownsville who recommended she take him there.

"We drove there the same day," Escobedo said. "At Driscoll they took blood tests, X-rays and did a biopsy. That's when they told us it was a malignant tumor and he needed to start on chemotherapy treatments. It was just really quick. It was a really sad Christmas for us."

For about two weeks before Dec. 15, Matthew and his family thought he had sprained his ankle while playing football at school. He complained about lingering pain after some friends fell on top of him. The first doctor they went to thought it was a normal sports injury that would go away, Escobedo said. Another doctor diagnosed it as a sprain or fracture.

At Driscoll Children's Hospital, it was found that Matthew actually had osteosarcoma, a malignant tumor of the bone. It is the most common type of bone tumor in children, with 150 to 200 new cases diagnosed per year, said hematologist/oncologist Nkechi Mba, M.D., one of Matthew's physicians at Driscoll.

"We see on average 2 to 3 new patients with osteosarcoma each year at Driscoll," Dr. Mba said.

Despite the diagnosis and her son's chemotherapy treatments, which often made him sick, Escobedo stayed strong for her family.

"I didn't have time to cry," she said. "We just started fighting. It's been like one fight after another against the cancer."

As bad as the news was for Matthew and his family, it got worse. After three months of chemotherapy treatments, the cancer was spreading rapidly up his left leg. The decision was made that he would have to lose the leg. It was amputated from the knee down in March 2011.

"That was really, really hurtful," Escobedo said. "But we knew we had to do it because we had no other way. If he wouldn't have lost his leg he wouldn't be with us."

Depending on the location of the tumor, amputation is one of the surgical options for patients with osteosarcoma, Dr. Mba said.

Escobedo said Matthew is doing better now after the amputation and that his cancer is almost gone. He comes to Driscoll regularly for weeks at a time for chemotherapy treatments. Because it's difficult for Escobedo to take off work frequently, Matthew usually rides a bus with his grandfather from Brownsville to Corpus Christi. His grandfather, José Barrón, stays at the Ronald McDonald House next to Driscoll when he isn't at Matthew's bedside.

"The Ronald McDonald House has been like my home," said Barrón, who considers Matthew a son.

Matthew also receives care at Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Brownsville. Escobedo takes him there for occasional check-ups, blood work and X-rays. Recently, when he was sick and had a fever, she took him to the clinic and was given antibiotics.

"It makes me feel safer that the clinic is right there," Escobedo said. "I have no words to express the gratitude I have for their care."

During a recent stay at Driscoll Children's Hospital, Matthew said although the chemotherapy makes him nauseous and vomit, he knows he needs it. Sitting on his hospital bed, he talked about what he misses in a shy, whispered voice.

"I miss going to school, playing sports and walking," he said. "I use crutches. They help me but it's not like really walking."

Matthew is normally an "A" honor roll student who loves school, Escobedo said, but because he has missed so much school, he will have to repeat the second grade through home-schooling when his chemotherapy is over. He currently has about nine weeks of chemotherapy treatments to go, Dr. Mba said.

Her son loves sports too, Escobedo said. Looking to the future, she isn't sure how Matthew will adjust to missing out on playing football and other sports with his friends.

"I don't think anybody can adjust to that," she said. "But we have God in our hearts. We're going to let him guide us the right way."