By: Kelly Johnson, Grateful mom and donor
Published on May 18, 2015
We learned our son Bobby had a brain tumor just after his fifth birthday. Three days and three hospitals after his diagnosis, Bobby was finally where he needed to be: the Midwest Children’s Brain Tumor Center (MCBTC) at Advocate Children’s Hospital – Park Ridge.
After undergoing surgery to remove the largest part of the tumor, Bobby was unable to speak, roll over or even swallow because the tumor affected the part of his brain that controlled balance and motor skills. Bobby immediately began a regimen of radiation and chemotherapy. In addition, early intervention in speech and physical therapy helped Bobby in his recovery. A small, remaining portion of his tumor did not respond to chemotherapy or radiation, so Bobby had a second surgery with an intra-operative MRI to remove it. (Thanks to more than $1 million in charitable gifts, Advocate Children’s Hospital – Park Ridge was the first hospital in the state to acquire this state-of-the-art imaging system, which allows for a more precise removal of brain tumors during surgery.)
During treatment, Bobby was in the hospital at least once a month—more frequently if he developed an infection. However, there were times when he would beg us to take his temperature in the hope that he would be able to go to the hospital! Now that’s beyond excellent—to welcome and care for a little boy so greatly that he wants to be admitted.
The care that Bobby received—and still receives today—at the MCBTC and Advocate Children’s Hospital is outstanding. We have been blessed by the exceptional doctors, nurses and staff. We appreciate their team-oriented approach, knowing that at any given time, all Bobby’s doctors are together, focused on what’s best for him.
Now finishing his sophomore year at Downers Grove North High School, Bobby is involved with school plays as part of the crew and is active in Operation Snowball—an alcohol and drug use prevention program focusing on leadership development to empower youth to lead drug-free lives. He also recently started participating in Advocate Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Oncology Survivorship in Transition program, which explores the physical, mental and social effects of cancer and related treatments.
We have spent so much time at the hospital and are so grateful for the care and extra support that made our stays better including the Child Life programs, with its playrooms and special parties—all which are supported by philanthropy. We benefitted from the generosity of donors, and now we are blessed to help others by giving back to Advocate Children’s Hospital through our family foundation. It is important to touch other lives and make a difference. If we can help another family get through a difficult part of the journey, then that is what we want to do.