Jaelyn first came to University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital in December 2010, when she was 10 months old. She wasn’t gaining weight, and her local doctor referred her to UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital for “failure to thrive.” She weighed just 10 pounds.
During his mother’s 20-week ultrasound at her local doctor’s office, Hunter’s parents learned he would be born with a cleft lip and palate. They were referred to University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital for further testing, and the cleft lip and palate were confirmed.
Cooper was very sick as a baby. At 1 month old, he was hospitalized for repeated vomiting, issues with weight gain, and difficulty with normal bowel movements. Over the course of 10 days at a Cedar Rapids hospital, his condition turned dangerously worse.
A persistent fever, mysterious bruising, and a stubborn nosebleed gave 3-year-old Flynn’s local pediatrician cause for concern. When results from blood tests came back, he had an ambulance waiting to transfer Flynn and his mom to University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. Once Flynn’s father arrived, they were told Flynn had leukemia.
Logan was not meeting his developmental milestones as a 1-year-old, and his parents were concerned. Their local pediatrician referred them to University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. Abnormalities were found in Logan’s bloodwork, and his family was referred to a pediatric neuromuscular doctor who diagnosed him with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a rapidly progressive genetic disorder that causes muscles to degenerate and become weak.
Leah was 7 years old and living with her family in Knoxville, Iowa, when she had her first life-threatening seizure. Her parents took her to a local emergency room, and she was flown by helicopter to a Des Moines hospital. Two months later, she had a similar seizure and was again taken to Des Moines. By summer of that year, she was experiencing headaches and intestinal issues.
Camdyn was a seemingly healthy newborn when she stopped breathing in her mother’s arms at 21 days old. She was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where medical staff performed CPR for almost an hour. When a faint pulse was found, she was flown by helicopter to University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. Doctors found no reason for her to have stopped breathing, and after a month of tests, Camdyn went home with a heart monitor.
Laurel was playing with friends in the basement of her Springville home when an accident left her with intense back pain. Her mother took her to a walk-in clinic, where she was directed to go to the emergency room at a Cedar Rapids hospital. As her mother was helping her into the van, Laurel told her she could feel her legs but could no longer move them.
Sam was born in Uganda with hydrocephalus, spina bifida—a birth defect in which bones don’t properly form around the spinal cord—and malformations in his bowel and bladder. He lived in an orphanage where specialized medical care wasn’t readily available, but he was adopted in 2015.
Drew was born with severe congenital heart disease that went undetected until he became very sick at 8 days old. Upon examination, his local pediatrician discovered his heart was racing and lungs were full of fluid. He was taken by ambulance to a Waterloo hospital, where tests the next day showed the fluid in his lungs was due to Drew being in heart failure.
When Maddox was 5 years old, his parents noticed spots that looked like birthmarks but weren’t present before. They asked their family physician about the spots—called café au lait spots—and were referred to a genetics expert at University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. They learned Maddox has neurofibromatosis (NF), a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerves, for which there is no treatment or cure.
When Hayden was 19 months old, her parents noticed she was having balance issues. A CT scan at a local hospital showed she had fluid on her brain. She and her family were transferred to University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, where doctors discovered a mass on Hayden’s brain stem. The mass was removed during an eight-hour surgery, but Hayden still wasn’t out of the woods.
Landon was born with only one kidney and several other complications that led immediately to kidney failure. Hospitals near his home in Tulsa, Oklahoma, were not able to care for pediatric kidney patients, so his family discussed moving back to Iowa—where his mother was from originally—so Landon could receive care at University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.