Jude was born in China with a condition known as VATERS syndrome, which is a cluster of congenital abnormalities commonly seen together. Jude had the first of many life-saving surgeries while living in an orphanage in China.
When Jude was four years old, he was adopted by the Reichert’s, and in the words of his mom Ileah, “became the light of our little family.”
After being home a short time, he began his first of a multitude of very invasive testing at Nationwide Children’s Hospital where doctors discovered additional complications relating to VATERS syndrome. Jude has undergone several surgeries, particularly in the last year, to make his life “normal” and to keep him healthy.
“This hospital has not only helped our family diagnose and treat our son, they have held us together when we were falling apart and have supported us when we didn’t know how to manage him and his complex needs. They do this while striving to put smiles on everyone’s faces – not just the child – but the struggling parents and siblings as well. We are forever grateful,” says Ileah.
The Center for Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstruction (CCPR) is leading the way in providing high quality care for children diagnosed with colorectal conditions. At Nationwide Children’s, every child diagnosed with a colorectal or pelvic condition is handled with an individualized treatment plan. Because of the complexity of many conditions, some children require care throughout their life.
“He is truly the strongest and bravest person I have ever met, young or old. He faces each and every challenge with a smile – and a little sass – and doesn’t let anything slow him down. We have not been a blessing for him, like many people assume – HE has been a blessing to US,” says Ileah.
When asked what he would tell other kids who have to go the hospital and have surgery often, Jude replied, “I would say, it’s ok, be brave, don’t be afraid, and they have really good doughnuts and movies there!”
Jude is an intelligent, bubbly 6-year-old who loves dressing up, going to the park, Power Rangers and superheroes.