JANE – 2017 SICK CHILD RECIPIENT
At her four month well visit, her pediatrician discovered a murmur that would begin a difficult journey for Jane. A cardiologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital confirmed a litany of heart defects, including a coarctation of the aorta, a bicuspid aortic valve, pulmonary artery stenosis, and two holes in her upper heart chambers. But Jane’s challenges didn’t end there. Numerous trips to the emergency department for pneumonia and countless visits with her pediatrician for unceasing fussiness, screaming, and an inability to sleep led to some lab tests. The results were unexpected. In addition to her heart defects, Jane also has severe neutropenia, a condition that makes it extremely difficult to fight even the most routine bacterial infection. A stubbed toe or small cough can herald a life threatening situation. On top of Jane’s physical challenges, she also had a profound speech delay and can only use a small handful of words. It is a great source of frustration for her because she can not tell us what she needs, and a source of fear for us because she can not alert us to pain or early signs of infection. In spite of it all, Jane continues to wow us with her heart-melting smiles and contagious giggles. She has an adventurous and stubborn personality and a fantastic sense of humor. She is a treasure.
TIFFANY – 2017 BREAST CANCER FIGHTER RECIPIENT
When you are a single mother of two kids, working to make ends meet can be a difficult challenge. Imagine now that you can’t work because of you have been diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer. You’ve undergone a double mastectomy and had your lymph nodes removed. Chemotherapy is the normal course. You’ve had to sell your car and some of your furniture to keep a roof over your children’s heads. You are basically surviving on charity from friends and family. Yet, friends refer to you as a strong woman, never seen without a smile or kind word. Strength comes in many forms. So does help.
BERT – 2017 BURN FIGHTER RECIPIENT
CAUTION – The following story may be disturbing to some readers.
In September 2016, Bert got off from working the overnight shift, excited about his son’s first birthday party on Sunday. He met up with a few friends for breakfast, then went home for a short nap. He had planned to shop for party favors later that afternoon. While Bert was asleep in his room, his roommate’s mentally unstable girlfriend attacked him without provocation or warning. She burned him with boiling oil and stabbed him repeatedly when he tried to escape her. Bert suffers from second and third degree burns to his head, face and chest. Since that date he has had three skin grafts with many more to come.