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news News Wednesday, November 13, 2019 Wednesday, November 13, 2019 11:52 AM - Wednesday, November 13, 2019 11:52 AM

Exceeding expectations at the Portland Shriners Hospital

Exceeding expectations at the Portland Shriners Hospital

Jillian, a current patient at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Portland, had a traumatic birth, experiencing a lack of oxygen that resulted in brain damage. Shortly after her birth, Jillian’s family was told devastating news from her doctor that Jillian, if she survived, would experience a poor quality of life with no chance of living independently at all. But Jillian’s parents would not accept this information. Mick, Jillian’s dad, explained their state of mind, “We weren’t happy with that news, so we made the determination to prove them wrong and give her a good, happy life.”

The family moved to Portland, Oregon, and the physical therapist at Jillian's school relentlessly reminded Mick to check out the services at the Portland Shriners Hospital. Since becoming a patient at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Portland, Jillian has experienced immense success in improving her quality of life. Her parents, who were once told her future looked grim, are elated that their daughter can communicate, joke and interact with her peers.

“She came to Shriners with no voice, no communication. I could read her eyes to get yes or no out of her, but that was the extent of it," said Mick. "Since coming to Shriners she has a very high tech communication device with a vocabulary of hundreds, if not thousands, of words already. She’s a little jokester, and she’s the class clown at school, and she’s just really come to life with the added communication and technology. Things like that added to her independence that nobody ever saw on the radar for her.”

Jillian continues to improve her motor and speech skills, and pleasantly surprises her parents and therapists. Mick shared the incredible progress that Jillian has made, “Up until the point of coming to Shriners, everyone treated her like a baby. She couldn’t speak, she couldn’t prove her cognitive abilities because of her physical ailments. So now she’s getting more and more respect as a typical 9-year-old who just happens to have physical disabilities, instead of this baby who’s getting pushed around in a stroller or wheelchair. That has to be the most impactful thing that we’ve encountered so far.”

Jillian at climbing gym