|Family of All Children's Patients Visits Congress as Part of Family Advocacy Day|
The Hawk Family on the "Hill"
Florida's representatives in Washington, DC now have two adorable faces to associate with children's healthcare issues. Aiden and Mason Hawk, along with their parents Lisa and Joey, made the rounds of six Congressional offices on Wednesday, June 16th. They talked about their family's All Children's Hospital experiences to remind lawmakers of the kids who are impacted by votes on such issues as Medicaid and pediatric Graduate Medical Education funding. Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R. - Palm Harbor), Congresswoman Kathy Castor (D. - Tampa), Congressman Adam Putnam (R. - Lakeland) and Congressman Bill Young (R. - St. Petersburg) personally welcomed the family into their offices for one-on-one visits. Staff members in offices of Congressman Vern Buchanan (R. - Sarasota) and Congressman Connie Mack (R. - Ft. Myers) also promised to pass along the Hawks' story as well as information about All Children's Hospital.
"Who would have thought that our family would be so lucky as to represent children from all over who count on children's hospitals for care?" remarked mom Lisa. " I am honored to be a part of it. We are here to SHOW these lawmakers the importance of pediatric medicine. It isn't about ‘small adults' - these children are so special."
Lisa & Joey were able to explain why it's so important that All Children's Pediatric Emergency Center is a 24-hour open door to the hospital just three miles from their St. Petersburg home. They spoke of the impact made through outpatient rehabilitative therapy services. And they emphasized the need to extend discounts on so-called "orphan drugs" for rare disorders to patients of pediatric centers like All Children's.
Eight-year old Aiden was born with a disorder that required him to undergo a liver transplant when he was just 8 months old. Even after receiving this "gift of life," Aiden has been no stranger to hospitals. He had 9 rejection episodes in the first year with his new liver. At age 3, one of the drugs he took to control rejection caused him to develop severe food allergies that have resulted in anaphylactic shock more than 20 times. Such a complex medical history requires many pediatric specialists cooperating to coordinate a course of care. That's why Aiden counts on his All Children's Hospital care team to work with experts at Cincinnati Children's Hospital as well as physicians in Atlanta and Toledo, Ohio.
His 4 ½ -year old brother Mason appeared to be a perfectly healthy baby when born in August of 2005. By his first birthday, Mason was having trouble meeting normal developmental milestones. A CT scan showed that Mason had a benign cyst in his brain - which, thankfully, has shown no signs of growing in subsequent studies. Diagnosed with mild hypotonic cerebral palsy, Mason has received outpatient occupational and physical therapy at All Children's Hospital for the past three years. And, as a result, his proud mom Lisa says most people think Mason is just like all other kids his age (except cuter).
Family Advocacy Day is an annual event organized by the National Association of Children's Hospitals. Twenty-six families from 17 states and the District of Columbia took part in Family Advocacy Day 2010. The Hawks are the fifth family to participate on behalf of All Children's Hospital over the years.
To share a message or to learn more about Family Advocacy Day and the patient families treated at children's hospitals nationwide who participated, click here.
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