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Hunter

Hunter

Hunter

After having 18 surgeries at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Greenville, Hunter has the routine down pat. His favorite part is when the nurses in the pre-op holding area roll out a big red wagon full of toys for patients to pick from before they go into the operating room. The toy will be waiting for them when they wake up. As Hunter aged, he noticed something was missing from the wagon. Hunter has been a patient at the Greenville Shriners Hospital for nearly ten years where he receives expert pediatric orthopaedic care for infantile idiopathic scoliosis, a curvature of the spine. As a very young child with a severe curvature, Hunter was placed in Mehta casts to help manage his curve while he continued to grow. A Mehta cast is a plaster cast that is applied from the collarbone to the bottom of the spine. When the cast is applied, pressure is placed on the cast causing the spine to straighten. When the cast hardens, it holds the spine in this position. Each cast progressively straightens the patient’s spine. In all, Hunter wore 15 Mehta casts.

When Hunter returned for his most recent surgery, his second growing rods lengthening, he brought a surprise for the surgical services nurses. He noticed that as he was getting older, the toys in the red wagon they brought out were mostly for younger children. When Hunter asked about this, he was told that most toy donations to the hospital are for younger kids. Hunter went home to Lynchburg, Virginia, and hatched a plan.

Hunter explains, “The Greenville Shriners [Hospital] has the best team of doctors and staff anyone could ever ask for. Each child is treated so special and that helps make the hospital experience less scary. I wanted to do something to help the other patients having surgery and to let them know it is going to be ok and they will be well taken care of.”

Hunter worked hard going to stores in his community asking them to donate items for teenage patients and raising money to buy additional items. Meanwhile, his sister made pillows from fun fabrics. The pre-op holding area nurses were overjoyed when Hunter presented his gifts. Bobbi Andrews, RN, surgical services nurse says, “The toys Hunter brought will brighten up the day for so many of our patients. When they come upstairs to the operating room, many times the kids are scared. A simple toy can help relieve so much stress. Hunter has such a tender and caring heart. He is always so brave and knows everyone here at the Greenville Shriners Hospital loves and cares for him so much.”

Pam says giving back to the hospital was an easy decision, “This hospital means so much to us! The quality care and treatment Hunter receives mean everything. Our family loves everyone at this hospital and everyone cares so much for Hunter. Everyone here would do anything to make Hunter feel better and be happy. Hunter has such a good bond with all the staff and he trusts everyone here to take care of him. This makes waiting in the surgery waiting room so much easier for us.”

Along with scoliosis, Hunter also has ocular albinism, asthma, mitral valve insufficiency and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a congenital connective tissue disorder. Hunter is treated for these conditions at Children’s Miracle Network hospitals and was the 2013 Children’s Miracle Network Hospital’s Virginia State Champion.

Meet some of our other special patients.

   
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