Grace’s Story

Grace’s first visit to Nationwide Children’s Hospital was before she was born. A fetal MRI revealed that she had myelomeningocele, the most common and severe type of spina bifida. Spina bifida is neurological condition that can cause a portion of the spinal cord and the surrounding structures to develop outside, instead of inside, the body. According to Grace’s mom, Lauren, “…we were comforted by the help and guidance of Nationwide Children’s staff long before her birth.”

Babies with spina bifida need complex, life-long care. Grace began her journey on Valentine’s Day 2008. Immediately after she was born, she was transported to Nationwide Children’s Hospital and had her first surgery 5 hours later. Now, at the age of 6, Grace has had 18 surgeries and spent over 125 days recovering in the hospital. She has worked incredibly hard in the last 6 years to walk in her walker and roll in her wheelchair with strength and endurance, and to become as independent as she can.

Last fall, just 4 days after starting Kindergarten, Grace experienced some complications which resulted in a 7-week stay at Nationwide Children’s. Her mom says, “She has amazed us all with her spirit and fight to recover with the help of Nationwide Children’s home therapists (PT, OT, and Speech), nurses and her doctors.” Grace is working hard to wean off her ventilator and is hoping the tracheotomy is not permanent – because she really “…can’t wait to get back to school!”

Grace receives care from throughout Nationwide Children’s including the Myelomeningocele Clinic, Neurosurgery, Neurology, Pulmonary Medicine, Urology, Ophthalmology/Eye Clinic, Nephrology, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Orthopedics, Psychiatry, Psychology and Ear Nose & Throat Services. Her parents know that they will be spending a lot of time at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “When we walk into Nationwide Children’s, we feel like we are walking into a home away from home; we see a lot of friendly and familiar faces and we don’t feel like we are dealing with these challenges alone. No one wants to spend that much time in the hospital. But if you need to, you want to feel that kind of love, care and support – and that is what we feel when we come to Nationwide Children’s.”

While Grace has faced many complicated and serious challenges in her 6 years, she has done so with a joyous and positive attitude. She is an inspiration to anyone who knows her story.

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Grace’s first visit to Nationwide Children’s Hospital was before she was born. A fetal MRI revealed that she had myelomeningocele, the most common and severe type of spina bifida. Spina bifida is neurological condition that can cause a portion of the spinal cord and the surrounding structures to develop outside, instead of inside, the body. According to Grace’s mom, Lauren, “…we were comforted by the help and guidance of Nationwide Children’s staff long before her birth.”

Babies with spina bifida need complex, life-long care. Grace began her journey on Valentine’s Day 2008. Immediately after she was born, she was transported to Nationwide Children’s Hospital and had her first surgery 5 hours later. Now, at the age of 6, Grace has had 18 surgeries and spent over 125 days recovering in the hospital. She has worked incredibly hard in the last 6 years to walk in her walker and roll in her wheelchair with strength and endurance, and to become as independent as she can.

Last fall, just 4 days after starting Kindergarten, Grace experienced some complications which resulted in a 7-week stay at Nationwide Children’s. Her mom says, “She has amazed us all with her spirit and fight to recover with the help of Nationwide Children’s home therapists (PT, OT, and Speech), nurses and her doctors.” Grace is working hard to wean off her ventilator and is hoping the tracheotomy is not permanent – because she really “…can’t wait to get back to school!”

Grace receives care from throughout Nationwide Children’s including the Myelomeningocele Clinic, Neurosurgery, Neurology, Pulmonary Medicine, Urology, Ophthalmology/Eye Clinic, Nephrology, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Orthopedics, Psychiatry, Psychology and Ear Nose & Throat Services. Her parents know that they will be spending a lot of time at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “When we walk into Nationwide Children’s, we feel like we are walking into a home away from home; we see a lot of friendly and familiar faces and we don’t feel like we are dealing with these challenges alone. No one wants to spend that much time in the hospital. But if you need to, you want to feel that kind of love, care and support – and that is what we feel when we come to Nationwide Children’s.”

While Grace has faced many complicated and serious challenges in her 6 years, she has done so with a joyous and positive attitude. She is an inspiration to anyone who knows her story.

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