Patients & Families
Driscoll patient, his mother consider transplant team family
April 23, 2012
Sepulvedas look forward to hospital's annual Transplant Reunion April 28
Ryan Sepulveda, 17, has had two kidney transplants, the most recent in June 2011 at Driscoll Children's Hospital.
CORPUS CHRISTI - A gleam comes to Ryan Sepulveda's eyes and a smile to his face when he recalls a three-legged race he ran with Driscoll Children's Hospital physician Samhar Al-Akash, MD at the hospital's Transplant Reunion a couple of years ago.
"I fell down and he had to carry me," Ryan, 17, said as he began laughing. "It was fun. I want to do it again this year."
Ryan is referring to Driscoll's Transplant Reunion that will be held April 28 at West Guth Park - his third to attend. The annual event, a celebration for Driscoll's 55 kidney transplant patients and their families, will include moon bounces, games of all sorts, prizes and food. Most importantly, it will be a chance for the patients and families to visit, share their experiences and have fun. Between 150-175 people are expected to attend.
"This is our way of saying 'thank you' to the families for their trust and for sharing their kids with us not only in sickness but also in health," said Dr. Al-Akash, head of nephrology and medical director of Driscoll's Kidney Center.
Ryan's kidney transplant at Driscoll in June 2011 was his second. He had been sick for a year, said his mother, Amy Sepulveda, because the kidney he received 12 years ago at a hospital in Galveston was failing.
"His body was rejecting the first kidney. We were lucky it lasted 12 years."
Sepulveda said she was relieved when Driscoll began performing kidney transplants in 2007, not least because her family no longer had to travel to Galveston for Ryan's treatment. Her appreciation for Driscoll's transplant team is deep and emotional.
"The whole team is awesome, from the girls at the front desk to the social workers and the doctors," Sepulveda said, her eyes welling up. "They make you feel like family. Dr. Al-Akash cared about Ryan like he was his own child. Oh my God, I can't say anything better...we couldn't do without this hospital."
Ryan, a high school sophomore, said he feels fine these days. He hopes to become a catcher in major league baseball. Asked if he's been scared during the surgeries he's endured, including gall bladder removal by Driscoll pediatric surgeon Stephen Almond, MD, he put on a carefree face.
"I wasn't scared because of the way (the doctors) talked to me. They told me everything was going to be OK. I believed them."
Dr. Al-Akash is looking forward to the April 28 Transplant Reunion and, as he said, "... blending together as humans, friends and families, not patients and doctors. The reunion celebrates these kids and their families and reminds us what is important in life."
What: Driscoll Children's Hospital's annual Transplant Reunion
When: Noon Saturday, April 28
Where: West Guth Park, 9725 Up River Rd.
Driscoll patients go to Spurs game courtesy of generous donors
April 20, 2012
WHAT: Five Driscoll Children's Hospital patients and their parents or guardians will gather at the hospital's lobby and depart for San Antonio to see a Spurs game as part of a live auction package purchased at this year's Fiesta de los Niños. Steve and Jessica Johnson of JSJ Services, Inc. purchased the package for $35,000 and will be attending the game with the patients. Transportation will be provided by TLC The Limo Company.
WHEN: 2:45 p.m. Sunday, April 22
WHERE: Driscoll Children's Hospital main lobby, 3533 S. Alameda St.
Driscoll Children's GALA kicks off tonight in Mercedes
April 20, 2012
WHAT: Driscoll Children's Hospital and Whataburger present Driscoll Children's GALA, a fundraiser to be held tonight at the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show Event Center in Mercedes. Formerly known as Fiesta de los Niños, the GALA will benefit Driscoll's Rio Grande Valley clinics and the children who are treated there. It will include cocktails, a barbecue dinner, silent and live auctions and dancing to the music of Scott Randolph & The White Lightning Band.
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Friday, April 20
WHERE: Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show Event Center, 1000 N. Texas Ave., Mercedes
INFO: Reagan Florence, (956) 688-1239 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Driscoll's volunteers motivated by more than just care, generosity
April 18, 2012
Celebration honoring them to be held at the hospital May 24
Dick Hinman, a Driscoll volunteer since 1994, does a magic trick with rubber bands for patient Isaiah Wicke.
CORPUS CHRISTI - For several hours a week, Valerie Caldwell's smiling face is the first thing visitors see at Driscoll Children's Hospital's Welcome Center. Caldwell became a volunteer at Driscoll a year and a half ago after being urged by some friends who are also volunteers.
"You get to see a lot of people coming in and see what's going on in the hospital," Caldwell said of the Welcome Center. "Working here gives me insight into the heart of Driscoll Children's Hospital. And it's a big, compassionate heart. There is a family-oriented feeling here," she went on to say before she stopped to help a visitor sign in.
Caldwell is one of 340 volunteer members of the Auxiliary to Driscoll Children's Hospital who are being recognized for their efforts during National Volunteer Week, April 15-21. On May 24, Driscoll will host a celebration for them with cake and door prizes in the hospital's auditorium. The party's theme will be "A world of diversity...one purpose."
"The Auxiliary's contributions to the hospital are priceless," said Lizette Saenz, director of Volunteer Services at Driscoll. "We could not do what we do without their thoughtfulness and commitment. I believe the volunteers enrich not only the lives of our patients and families, but their own lives as well."
Volunteer Joe Lugo, a Navy veteran, shows Driscoll patient Enrique Llanas, Jr. how to mix colors to paint his papier-maché mask.
Driscoll volunteer Valerie Caldwell helps a visitor check in at the hospital's Welcome Center.
Saenz's belief rings true with volunteers like Joe Lugo. He can be found helping out in the hospital's fifth floor classroom, where long-term patients keep pace with their school curriculum. While helping some children mix colors to paint the papier-maché masks they were making, Lugo explained that he first began volunteering in the communities he lived in while he was in the Navy.
"Some of the kids I've encountered in the past didn't have a father figure," said Lugo, who retired after serving 20 years in the Navy. "I encourage these children, praise them and they appreciate it. What I've learned over the past year at Driscoll is that these children are more of a blessing to us than we are to them."
Volunteer Dick Hinman, 81, has roamed Driscoll Children's Hospital since 1994, entertaining patients with antics and magic tricks. He never leaves a child without a smile.
"This is like recess for me," Hinman said with a kind, grandfatherly voice. "I'm a big kid." A toy mouse peeking from the pocket of his blue smock is Stuart Little's big brother, he pointed out. Then, with seriousness, Hinman echoed the sentiment of other Driscoll volunteers.
"Some of these kids are very sick. Some are having surgery. If you can make their day better it makes yours better too. I enjoy it, the kids enjoy it. It's nothing complicated."
By the numbers:
- Number of volunteers at Driscoll Children's Hospital: 300
- Number of volunteers at Driscoll's McAllen and Brownsville clinics: 40
- Age range of adult volunteers: 18 - 90
- Number of Driscoll's summer 2012 Volunteens: 85
- What: Driscoll Children's Hospital Volunteer Celebration
- When: 11:30 a.m. Thursday, May 24
- Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital auditorium, 3533 S. Alameda St.
Driscoll to host breastfeeding seminar April 12
March 30, 2012
- WHAT: The public is invited to an educational seminar at Driscoll Children's Hospital about the basics of breastfeeding, led by Laurie Beck, RN, MSN, international board certified lactation consultant for Driscoll Children's Hospital. Topics will include:
- Benefits of human breast milk;
- Basic anatomy and physiology of breastfeeding;
- What parents can expect the first few weeks after the delivery of the baby;
- Community resources to help breastfeeding families;
- Returning to work/school and breastfeeding.
- WHEN: 6 - 8 p.m. Thursday, April 12
- WHERE: Driscoll Children's Hospital auditorium, 3533 S. Alameda St.
- COST: $20 per family; all proceeds will benefit the March of Dimes.
- INFO: Laurie Beck, (361) 694-5338
Driscoll, Stripes to throw party for National Child Life Month
March 13, 2012
WHAT: The Stripes Child Life program at Driscoll Children's Hospital is celebrating National Child Life Month by throwing a pirate-themed party for patients. Representatives from Stripes and Driscoll's child life specialists will provide games, activities, prizes and treats for the children.
WHEN: 1-2 p.m. Wednesday, March 14
WHERE: Driscoll Children's Hospital auditorium, 3533 S. Alameda St.
Driscoll Children's Hospital, Whataburger join for GALA to help Rio Grande Valley children
March 08, 2012
RIO GRANDE VALLEY - On a daily basis, physicians and staff from Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi travel to Driscoll's specialty clinics in McAllen, Brownsville and Harlingen to treat patients who may have cancer, need a kidney transplant or are suffering from any number of diseases. A significant number of Driscoll's patients live in the Rio Grande Valley.
Whataburger donated $40,000 toward Driscoll Children's GALA during a press conference March 8 at Driscoll Children's Quick Care - McAllen. Pictured, left to right, are: Earl Massie with Re/Max 1st Choice, Chuck and Rhonda Sellman, GALA co-chairs, Paul McDaniel, GALA co-chair, Dr. Riaz Shareef, medical director of Driscoll Children's Quick Care - McAllen, Hugh Dobson, member of Whataburger's founding family, David Cantu, Whataburger director of operations and Aaron Valdez, Whataburger area supervisor.
To benefit the Rio Grande Valley clinics, Driscoll has joined with Whataburger for the Driscoll Children's GALA, a fundraiser to be held April 20 at the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show Event Center in Mercedes. Formerly known as Fiesta de los Niños, the GALA promises a good time for all, including cocktails, a barbecue dinner, silent and live auctions and dancing to the music of Scott Randolph & The White Lightning Band.
"We are excited to begin this fundraising event in the mid-Valley area," said Reagan Florence, Driscoll director of Development in the Rio Grande Valley. "Driscoll Children's Hospital has been helping children in South Texas for nearly 60 years. We hope the community comes out to support the Valley's youth who need the special
medical care that Driscoll provides."
On March 8, Whataburger presented Driscoll Children's Hospital with a check for $40,000 as the title sponsor of this year's GALA. Whataburger has been the title sponsor of the Valley event since its inception in 2004.
"Whataburger is proud to have partnered with Driscoll Children's Hospital for more than 20 years and watched its services expand into the Rio Grande Valley," said Whataburger Director of Operations David Cantu. "We feel honored to support Driscoll once again through this year's GALA and celebrate the wonderful work done here by the doctors, nurses and staff who provide specialty healthcare for children in South Texas."
Laura Cortez, executive director of Driscoll's Rio Grande Valley clinics, said Driscoll is extremely grateful for Whataburger's sponsorship.
"Whataburger's support, along with the donations of others, will stay in the Valley and enable our children to receive the quality care they deserve right here."
- What: Driscoll Children's GALA
- When: 6:30 p.m. Friday, April 20
- Where: Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show Event Center, 1000 N. Texas Ave., Mercedes
- Information/donations: Reagan Florence, (956) 688-1239 or email@example.com
Driscoll Children's Hospital, Whataburger to hold press conference, announce details of upcoming GALA
March 05, 2012
Driscoll Children's Hospital, Whataburger to hold press conference, announce details of upcoming GALA
WHAT: Whataburger officials will present a check for $40,000 to Driscoll Children's Hospital at a press conference and announce details about the upcoming Driscoll Children's Hospital GALA in the Rio Grande Valley. The GALA, formerly known as Fiesta de los Niños, will benefit Driscoll's specialty clinics in the Valley.
WHEN: 10:30 a.m. Thursday, March 8
WHERE: Driscoll Children's Quick Care, 1120 E. Ridge Road, McAllen
10th annual Radiothon set for Friday at Driscoll
February 28, 2012
CORPUS CHRISTI - On Friday, March 2, K-99 (KRYS 99.1) will team up with Driscoll Children's Hospital and McDonald's for the annual Radiothon. The one-day event will be broadcast from the Half Pint Library in the main lobby of Driscoll Children's Hospital.
Tune in to hear patients, parents, physicians and staff share inspirational stories of hope and healing. In 2011, the community donated $63,484 during the Radiothon to benefit patients at Driscoll Children's Hospital.
Anyone can help raise money for the Radiothon by creating an online giving page. To do so, go to www.helpmakemiracles.org/event/driscoll. For more information or to donate, contact Driscoll's Development Department at (361) 694-6401.
What: 10th annual Radiothon
When: 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, March 2
Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital main lobby, 3533 S. Alameda St.
Driscoll's McAllen clinic to host Heart Celebration
February 15, 2012
Event is to increase awareness of congenital heart defects
McALLEN - In a month that most people associate with Valentine's Day, Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen will be hosting a Heart Celebration Feb. 17 for its young cardiology patients. Following Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week (see www.tchin.org/aware/), the celebration is an effort to bring awareness to the community about the many South Texas children born with heart defects. The Heart Celebration will include crafts, games and refreshments for the children and their families.
Each year, cardiologists at Driscoll and its South Texas clinics see about 7,200 children for heart-related issues. Last year, more than 3,000 children in the Rio Grande Valley were seen, said Judy Vest, RN, clinic director of Driscoll Children's Heart Center. Some of the patients need heart surgery and some are treated using delicate and less invasive procedures. Driscoll Children's Heart Center performs more than 200 cardiac catheterizations and over 220 heart surgeries each year.
If unrecognized, congenital heart defects can slow a baby's growth and development, according to Roozbeh Taeed, MD, medical director of cardiology for Driscoll Children's Heart Center. In severe cases, it can lead to injury of the heart muscle or lungs.
Congenital heart disease is due to the heart not forming properly as the fetus develops in the womb, Dr. Taeed said.
"It can be as simple as a hole in one of the walls separating the chambers of the heart, a narrowing of a valve or more severe abnormalities that would need treatment soon after birth."
Dr. Taeed explains that some congenital heart defects such as small holes in the heart chamber walls resolve with time, closing as the child grows. In many cases, narrowing of a heart valve can be treated by catheterization - passing a balloon from one of the blood vessels of the groin up to the heart, crossing the narrowed valve, opening the balloon and "popping" the valve more open, Dr. Taeed said. More complicated heart abnormalities require surgery and teams of doctors including anesthesiologists, intensive care doctors, cardiologists and surgeons like those at Driscoll Children's Heart Center.
Dr. Taeed advises parents to seek advice from their family physician or pediatrician if their baby is having difficulties with feedings or is not gaining weight.
"Based upon a careful examination, your healthcare provider can decide if your baby needs to be seen by a pediatric cardiologist," he said.
What: Heart Celebration for Driscoll cardiology patients and their families
When: 2-4 p.m. Feb. 17
Where: Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen, 1120 E. Ridge Rd.