• Parent Blog: Elizabeth and Tyler VanCamp

    Leda VanCamp, photo

    My daughter, Leda, was born a perfectly healthy baby. During the two days after her birth she had a little trouble eating and spit up pretty much anything she ate. However, because she didn’t lose too much weight during those two days, we were sent home with our healthy baby (who just happened to spit up a lot).

  • Jeg Weets

    Jeg Weets, portrait

    At 2 years old, Jeg was seen by pediatric gastroenterologists at University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, and was ultimately diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at age 4. When pediatric specialists noticed that his spleen was enlarged at a routine visit, they pushed for answers. Through extensive testing, Jeg was diagnosed with Niemann Pick Type C (NPC), a rare, progressive genetic disorder where cholesterol accumulates in body tissues, including the brain.

  • Livia Jackson

    Livia Jackson, portrait

    Livia was referred to University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital by her local doctor at age 5 after being diagnosed with cyclic vomiting syndrome—a condition marked by episodes of severe vomiting and nausea.

  • Christopher Turnis

    Christopher Turnis, portrait

    Christopher was born at University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital at 34 weeks gestation with several organs that were severely damaged. The first of many surgeries took place when he was just 2 weeks old. Since birth, Christopher has undergone more than 40 surgeries and has spent more than 1,000 nights in the hospital.

  • Parent Blog: Kendra Mennen

    Heather Mennen, portrait

    Heather was referred to University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital with a distended abdomen when she was about 8 months old.

  • Cooper Foster

    Cooper Foster

    Cooper was very sick as a baby. At 1 month old, he was hospitalized for repeated vomiting, issues with weight gain, and difficulty with normal bowel movements. Over the course of 10 days at a Cedar Rapids hospital, his condition turned dangerously worse.

  • Looking back, moving forward

    Myat Haggart Family from New York

    For years, Myat Haggart’s parents have been searching for answers. Myat, a 10-year-old living in New York City, has been blind since age 5. He also wears bilateral hearing aids to help with hearing loss and has other health issues.

  • Konner Guyer

    Konner Guyer portrait

    Konner and his twin brother, Kolby, were born in Des Moines prematurely at 28 weeks gestation. Unfortunately, Kolby passed away when he was 6 days old. Konner was transferred to UI Stead Family Children's Hospital for advanced care.

  • Hayden Despenas

    Hayden Despenas portrait

    Hayden was diagnosed with Friedreich’s ataxia (FA), a rare form of muscular dystrophy, in 2012. He wants to help other children with muscular dystrophy by raising money for research. Hayden also serves as an honorary firefighter with the Mason City Fire Department.

  • Makayla Bell

    Makayla Bell portrait

    Makayla was born three weeks premature at UI Stead Family Children's Hospital with additional birth defects. The doctors diagnosed her with OEIS syndrome, which occurs in just one of 300,000 infants. Once Makayla was born, a team of pediatric specialists worked together to develop a plan of care and she had her first surgery at just five days old.

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