Some families will spend this holiday season in hospital rooms watching over a sick child.
One transplant patient wanted to share her experience 15 years later, hoping to encourage those who are where she once was.
Aubrey Reeves said she wasn’t always aware of how sick she was. Looking back, it all makes sense. Even holidays were spent in hospital rooms.
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“All of my memories were at Children’s,” she said. “I spent Christmas and my birthday and Thanksgiving and all of my parents and grandparents’ and brothers’ birthdays in the hospital.”
She knows firsthand what it’s like to open gifts while attached to machines.
“I remember having sticky pads that keep your heart beating if it stopped and I had wires in my chest for some reason,” said Reeves.
But she survived and thrived after three transplant procedures before the age of 10. One of them was a heart and kidney transplant – the first-ever dual transplant to be performed by Children’s Health.
Susan Daneman is the Heart Transplant Coordinator at Children’s Health Dallas. She’s been there from the beginning. She said the two of them sort of “grew up” in the transplant unit together
“Even on her sick days when she was in the hospital, she was always cheerful and playful and wanting to play,” said Daneman. “It’s a testament to what we can do here at Children’s. The fact that we’ve been able to transplant her three times and give her this much life.”
Reeves, now 23, is studying to become a medical assistant. No doubt, it’s a decision influenced by her own childhood.
“I think I learned a lot about humility and just being a passionate and compassionate person and individual,” said Reeves.
Daneman said she hopes this story inspires parents who, at this very moment, have children in the hospital.