‘I will never forget his kindness’

Natalea is the grateful mom of 7-month-old Grayson, who was diagnosed with laryngomalacia and obstructive sleep apnea just days after he was born. To show their gratitude for the care and comfort they all received, Natalea and her husband, Brad, chose to donate more than $3,000 worth of toys and gifts to patients at Advocate Children’s Hospital – Oak Lawn. This is their story as told by Natalea.


Donating to support pediatric patients at Advocate Children’s Hospital was an easy decision for my husband and me to make.

In August of 2021, we welcomed our second baby boy, Grayson, into the world. A week later, he stopped breathing two times at home. We rushed him to our local hospital where he had several more episodes. Within hours, we were being transported via ambulance to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn with our week-old baby, who was on a ventilator.

The next 10 days were the scariest of our lives. After a barrage of tests, scans and blood work, the doctors at Advocate came to a concrete diagnosis for our sweet baby – laryngomalacia (a birth defect characterized by the softening of the tissues above the larynx or voice box) and obstructive sleep apnea. For days we were terrified that we would lose him all together, so we were relieved to hear that his condition is hopefully temporary, and he will likely outgrow it.

Looking back on those days, I am so incredibly grateful for the doctors and nursing staff who cared for Grayson. Through all the ups and downs, we felt very seen and heard by the physicians, specifically Dr. Matics, who cared for him in the PICU. Dr. Matics advocated for me to be able to hold my 10-day old baby after not holding him for several days while he was intubated, which for a postpartum mama, felt like an eternity. I will never forget his kindness.

Additionally, the staff that we have continued to work with for Grayson’s health care, namely Dr. Arain and Dr. Coates and their teams, have been so kind and gracious. They’re always willing to answer our questions with patience and empathy.

My husband and I wanted to find a concrete way to say “thank you” for everything. I stumbled across Advocate Children’s Hospital’s Amazon wish list, and I knew that was it. If any of the gifts that we have given can bring joy or a smile to another child or family walking through a similar experience to what we did, then it will be more than worth it. I sincerely hope that they do.

How you can help

We are so grateful to Natalea and her family for their generous donation of toys and gifts for children battling illnesses or recovering from injuries at Advocate Children’s Hospital. Play is an important part of the healing process and can help make hospital stays and visits less scary for kids.

To view our Target and Amazon wish lists and to purchase toys, click here. To make a monetary donation to support pediatric care, click here.