Jaclyn & Aidan

[vc_row bg_color=””][vc_column][vc_column_text]

When you meet Jaclyn Larson you are struck by both her youth and her maturity. The 24-year-old’s son, Aidan, is now seven years old, and the traumatic brain injury he suffered at age two has altered the course of their lives.

When Jaclyn’s not in class at Pima Community College and Aidan’s home from the special education program at Lynn-Urquides Elementary School, they’re together. At other times, their large and extended family is a great help.

Jaclyn and Aidan live with her grandmother, and Jaclyn’s parents and siblings live next door. Her aunt, uncle and cousins live in a home just adjacent to her grandmother’s house. Aidan’s family on his dad’s side are part of their lives as well. Jaclyn can tell you that it takes a village to raise a child with special healthcare needs, and Children’s Clinics is a part of their village.

Jaclyn, the parent representative on the Children’s Clinics Board of Directors, has learned a lot in the five years since a car accident changed Aidan’s life and the lives of those who love him. She knows the ins and outs of wheelchairs and walking devices, feeding tubes and how to puree healthy food to attain just the right daily caloric count. She records her voice on Aidan’s “talker” so he can push a button and use her voice to “ask” for what he needs.

Ask Jaclyn about Aidan’s progress and she’ll tell you it’s important not to have hard and fast expectations, that their goals change as Aidan progresses both in expected and sometimes unexpected ways. “I want him to be as independent as possible,” Jaclyn says. “But I’m not expecting he’ll be able to live on his own when he’s 18.”

Children’s Clinics physicians, rehabilitation specialists, and other staff have supported Jaclyn and Aidan since they were discharged from the trauma unit at what was University Medical Center at the time. “Everyone at Children’s Clinics knows Aidan and me. They don’t even ask for our names when we arrive. I used to be a very shy person, but seeing the same faces and interacting with other parents and children has helped so much.”

Why a Medical Home?

Aidan’s needs and the needs of his extended family illustrate why a “medical home” is so critical. The whole family benefits because they can access the very best care in a warm and supportive environment, all under one roof.

We schedule our patients for an array of appointments in one visit to the clinic, removing the burden of traveling to numerous medical appointments across the city. For example, during a four-hour clinic visit, patients with Spina Bifida see an orthopedic surgeon, developmental pediatrician, urologist, psychologist, physical therapist, education specialist, medical social worker, nurse coordinator, nutritionist, and child life specialist. Medical records are easily accessed by all and the team meets after a clinic visit to discuss each patient’s progress and needs.

As the family’s medical home, we also offer primary care for all the children in a family.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Ivan

[vc_row bg_color=””][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Ivan, who is now 24 years old, has been a patient at Children’s Clinics for more than 17 years. Ivan began coming to the clinic for treatment of Cerebral Palsy, severe seizures, and Congenital Tracheomalacia. With the care and treatment he has received from a Cerebral Palsy team, neurologist, ENT, ophthalmologist, dentist, and primary care physician, Ivan has been able to lead a more comfortable, happy, and productive life.

The relationship Ivan has with his parents is awe inspiring. They are completely devoted to him and providing the care he needs. Sabino, Ivan’s dad, said, “He is our source of energy to keep going. His will to live is a great inspiration to us.” Ivan enjoys making music with Sabino. Ivan’s mom, Antonia, helps him create beautiful works of digital art that are turned into heartfelt greeting cards. Though Ivan struggles with his health from time to time and is unable to venture out on public outings as much as he’d like, there is no shortage of social interaction with his family and friends. Ivan enjoys telephone and video calls from his grandparents and very close friends.

Sabino shared that Children’s Clinics and Square & Compass have been a blessing to their family. Walking through the halls is very much like walking in their own home, but with a few more caring hands. They always receive smiles and prompt answers to their questions and concerns regarding Ivan’s health. Children’s Clinics and Square & Compass are not only with them when they are here, but have become an important part of their lives. They have had great experiences and have made life-long memories at the Clinic. Sabino commented, “From the front desk to the Square & Compass office, and in between, people have been so wonderful. Many of Ivan’s experiences may have never occurred without the support of Children’s Clinics and Square & Compass, and we know we are not the only ones blessed by their support. BIG THANKS!”

The partnership between Children’s Clinics and Square & Compass has allowed Ivan and kids like him to receive complex medical care, and so much more, under one roof. With the help of contributions made by generous donors, we also lessen the burden on families, like Ivan’s, that face these complicated issues every day.

To see music videos and artwork created by Ivan and his parents visit:

https://www.youtube.com/user/saby7

https://www.facebook.com/Antonia.Ivan

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

DJ

At age six it became apparent that our son, DJ, was very quickly losing his ability to hear. As we wrestled with our fears for him, our pediatrician connected us to Children’s Clinics. Our nerves were calmed a bit when we were greeted at the Clinic and saw the children in the lobby watching movies, saw the games and crafts for the kids, a beautiful fish tank, and more. It helped put our minds slightly at ease. I remember thinking “Maybe this would  work out… Maybe this is not just a professional healthcare facility, but one that really cares about kids.” Mary, our audiologist, took the time to listen as we poured out our hearts and asked question after question. She was there not only for DJ but for my wife, Kim, and me, always going the extra mile.

DJ’s diagnosis of progressive bilateral hearing loss was followed by several months of visits to Children’s Clinics, seeing several interdisciplinary teams. Each time, we were treated with kindness, love, and respect, and the doctors and staff took the time to answer all of our questions, and also to make sure DJ was well cared for.

DJ was later diagnosed with bilateral enlargement of the vestibular aqueducts and a bicuspid aortic valve. But we had the answers we needed and knew that treatment was available. DJ adapted almost immediately to wearing hearing aids in both ears, and we saw improvement in his social and learning skills.

DJ was now able to enjoy life more, from shooting hoops, seeing the Diamondbacks play (he’s a Diamondbacks SUPERFAN!) or enjoying a movie with his mom and dad. His progressive hearing loss continued, however, and his hearing aids finally reached their limits.

The Clinic then introduced us to cochlear implants, and DJ became a candidate. New-found hope brought tears to my eyes as we learned that implants would mean he would always have some level of hearing available. The surgeries were completed flawlessly by Dr. Parry, another medical professional we met at Children’s Clinics.

The implants work far beyond our hopes and dreams. With his implants he now hears better than I believe he ever did with hearing aids. It is absolutely amazing. From music, to speech, to going to a ballgame, DJ hears everything, and his learning and social growth have improved.

What a roller coaster of emotions this has been for us, from deep fear and sadness initially to a glowing heart, and knowing that our son is, and continues to be, taken care of. DJ has remained extremely strong this entire time. Now three years later, DJ is almost nine. I couldn’t be more proud of my son’s strength, as he continues to be a fun-loving, kind-hearted soul. He will do amazing things in his life, due in large measure to what Children’s Clinics has done for him.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you… all of you. You are making a difference.  Thank you.

– David J. Jacobson (DJ’s father)

Carolyn & Snowflake

[vc_row bg_color=””][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Why I volunteer at Children’s Clinics

I love volunteering at Children’s Clinics. The staff and doctors treat me like I’m part of the team and I feel truly appreciated by the patients and families. Sometimes parents need to briefly escape the stress of being a parent of a child with special healthcare needs. Snowflake and I provide them with that relief. I think families also sometimes worry about being accepted. When I come to the clinic I don’t see the kids as patients with disabilities. I see them as children who are part of a loving, caring family. This clinic is a really unique place. My job is very special and I feel responsible for making sure the families, patients, and providers all feel supported.”

About Carolyn McKee and Snowflake

Carolyn has been a volunteer at Children’s Clinics for nearly five years, and she and her pet therapy partner, Snowflake, play an integral role in the clinic. Snowflake is just one of many of Carolyn’s rescued animals. “I help them get certified as therapy animals after they’ve survived really tough lives, and then I get to see them totally transform and find purpose and joy again,” says Carolyn, who has two other dogs and three cats. They go from neglected and alone, to being treated as important and valued.” Something many of the kids at Children’s Clinics might be able to relate with. “Snowflake is incredibly spoiled by all the treats that she gets from nurses in the clinic. The Clinic truly takes care of everyone that is a part of the Children’s Clinics family.”

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Gina Murphy-Darling

Why I Give to Children’s Clinics –

“From the first moment I walked in the door, I’ve been emotionally invested in the work of the Clinic. All it took was one look at the beautiful building, seeing all of the beautiful kids that spend so much of their time here, and observing the caring, supportive staff to know that I am supporting a charity that has an incredible impact in our community. I give to Children’s Clinics because there isn’t anywhere else like it. They take care of the most vulnerable children in our community, and I know that my gifts go directly to helping these kids. I am so proud to be part of the Children’s Clinics family, and I know that I play an integral role in taking care of these children.”

About Gina Murphy-Darling

You might know Gina better as “Mrs. Green” from Mrs. Green’s World, where she is raising environmental IQs and inspiring a global community of people to live life in a way that supports healthy people, healthy communities and a healthy, sustainable planet. You might also know Gina as a local friend, philanthropist, and community leader in Tucson, Arizona. Gina spent 30 years of her career dedicated to social services, and connects deeply with the mission of Children’s Clinics.