Inspiring Potential

Suzanne Prestwich, M.D. • November 02, 2012
17-year-old Sarah Eber  recovered from Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome.
Sarah Eber

Many of the children admitted to the inpatient rehabilitation unit at Kennedy Krieger have experienced a trauma or illness that resulted in needing a procedure called a tracheostomy. The procedure involves placing a tube in a patient’s neck to help with breathing, but the downside is that it robs the patient of the ability to speak. Seeing a child with a “trach” tube in place may be heartbreaking for the casual observer. Seeing your own child with it is devastating.

Lauren Manfuso • June 19, 2012
In my mind, I make people smile.
Alexandra Carter

Alexandra Carter doesn't lack for social skills. In fact, unlike many teenagers with Down syndrome who may struggle to find their places among social groups and peers, Alexandra is outgoing and vivacious.  It wasn't always that way, though, says her mom, Latondria Spence. As a little girl, Alexandra shied away from crowded places. 

Lauren Glenn Manfuso • July 08, 2011
In my mind, I am very brave.
Ben's Story

It was a perfect day at the beach. The sun was shining, and the water was just right. Ben and his friends splashed in the waves and built sand castles, while his mom Joanne and the other parents chatted under the umbrellas, keeping a watchful eye on the children. But as the day came to a close, everyone headed back to the house, just a few blocks away.

Laura Laing • January 27, 2010
Every month, I meet my best friends for dinner where we get to catch up with each other.
Living on the Brightside

Kennedy Krieger and Circle of Friends are an important reason I have such a full life.

Staff Editor • January 13, 2010
In my mind, I am full of hope.
Lily Wilkinson

When Lily Wilkinson was three, her neck was broken in an automobile accident leaving her paralyzed below the waist. A moment of screeching tires and crumpling metal, and her new life appeared etched in stone before she had ever entered kindergarten. After months of intensive care, her parents were told she would never be able to use or feel her legs again.

Meredith Purvis • November 04, 2009
In my mind, I am a champion.

"Come here, I want to show you something," Khai Walker calls upstairs to his father. His fingers flash across a video game controller as he maneuvers a pixilated basketball player down the court. His father, Kenith, sticks his head into the room and Khai, with a few precise key strokes, guides the player through an aerial spin and perfect slam dunk.

Meredith Purvis • January 01, 2008
In my mind, I am a star.

As 6-year-old Cameron Mott sings and dances her way around her family's North Carolina living room, it's obvious she has some serious star power. But things weren't always this way. At age three she started having seizures and was diagnosed with cortical dysplasia, an abnormality in the development of the cerebral cortex.

"She was having six to 10 seizures a day," says her dad, Casey. The seizures robbed Cameron's family of their little girl. Every morning she was clear and bright, but then the first seizure would hit. 

Courtney McGrath • December 20, 2005
Young mom with spina bifida grows with Kennedy Krieger.
Krystal Spencer with Her Son

When Krystal Spencer came to Kennedy Krieger for her regular clinic visit in September, she couldn't resist showing off her baby son Justin. A Kennedy Krieger patient for more than a decade, Spencer is a familiar face to many of the physicians, nurses and therapists in the Outpatient department all of whom were thrilled to see that one of their patients had delivered a healthy baby boy.

Krystal, 22, was born with spina bifida, a birth defect that prevents the spine from closing completely during the first month of pregnancy. 

Elise Babbitt • November 22, 2005
Determined Young Woman Refuses to Let Cerebral Palsy Conquer Her Dreams
Liza Patchel and Her Mom

Liza Patchel has grown used to being told of the many things she will never do. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy as an infant, doctors said she would never speak or walk. When she enrolled in public school, administrators said she would never play for their sports teams. Even as she studied her way to good grades, "experts" told Liza that she would never go to college.

Now 23, Liza clearly enjoys proving people wrong, relishing opportunities to tell her story in the slow, but painstakingly clear, speech that many doubted she would ever develop.

Courtney McGrath • September 19, 2005
Pre-Teen with Cerebral Palsy Defies Skeptics and Learns to Walk

The day Sheiku Koroma was born in 1994, his parents had no reason to anticipate the challenges he'd face growing up. He seemed healthy at first, like any other newborn. But a severe infection combined with increased newborn jaundice led to an injury in the basal ganglia region of his brain, an area controlling movement and speech. As a result, Sheiku developed extraparymidal cerebral palsy, which affects his entire body and is accompanied by uncontrollable movements called choreoathetosis.