Thank You: “You Give Me a Way Home”

Children’s National Medical Center “I Care. I Share.”Every day this week we’re highlighting the many ways that donations directly improve children’s lives.

Because of supporters like you, more children are able to go home, where they belong. Thanks to you, children have the best possible chance to get back to health with the best chance for a bright future. To see how donations make a difference for children, visit

Thank You from Joey: “You Give Me a Chance to Win”

Thanksgiving_05Every day this week we’re featuring stories showing how donations directly improve children’s lives.

“My doctors and nurses never gave up on me,” Joey says. “That made me never give up. Now I’m winning with my health and on the ball field.”

In August 2008, Joey’s father took him to the local urgent care because he thought he had a bruised rib after playing with his brother. However, the doctor realized that the 10-year-old may have something else. Within hours, Joey was sent to Children’s National, where he was diagnosed with leukemia. Today, Joey is 16 and cancer-free. He is enjoying his junior year of high school and playing baseball.

To see how donations make a difference for children, visit

Seeing Healthcare through a Child’s Eyes: The Dream Clinic

dream3On Nov. 19, Children’s National officially opened the Dream Clinic, a clinic for children battling cancer that’s been transformed into a convenient, child-friendly space. The Dream Clinic embodies the hospital’s commitment to treating the whole child, which means not only caring for a child’s physical health, but also offering psychological and emotional support.

“This dream began almost three years ago when I spoke at a Friends of Oncology meeting,” said Dr. Jeffrey Dome, chief of oncology at Children’s National. “The next day Elizabeth Kaufman Blalack volunteered to chair our 2013 Heroes Gala, with a goal to raise $500,000. They raised over $680,000 for the project!”

Thanks to these efforts, children and families no longer have to sit anxiously in a sterile waiting room before their appointments. Instead, they are greeted by vibrant cartoon murals of a forest and animals, and a colorful fish tank. In addition there are computerized check-in stations, which allow parents to efficiently check in and monitor their child’s appointments in real time.

Elizabeth Blalack with her daughter Arabelle, who was treated at Children's National.
Elizabeth Blalack with her daughter Arabelle, who was treated at Children’s National.

A new phlebotomy space ensures that each child may have labs drawn in privacy, while an improved team center allows doctors to consult with colleagues, enter and search for electronic data, and track patient progress simultaneously. A cutting-edge chemistry analyzer expedites each and every visit so that families can get results back sooner. Infusion pods painted in themes of “space,” “garden,” and “jungle” distract and entertain while nurses provide life-saving chemotherapy. There are even treasure maps available so children can search for hidden objects embedded in the murals while they wait.

“Every one of the 225 new cancer patients diagnosed at Children’s National this year will have an easier road because of your support and dedication,” Blalack said. “All of these changes guarantee that the young patients and families treated at Children’s National will not only receive the very best medical care available, but that it will be provided in the most supportive way we know how. Now patients, families, and providers can focus on the most important task in front of them: beating cancer.”

Thank You from Jason: “You Give Me Hope”

Thanksgiving_01Every day this week we’re featuring stories showing how donations directly improve children’s lives.

“My brothers wake up early to catch the school bus,” Jason says. “I wake up early for my dialysis treatment. While I wait for my transplant, you give me hope. Not only will I make it to that school bus, but someday, my brother will have to catch up with me.”

When Jason was born, the Children’s National team was already standing by to treat his failing kidneys. He spent his first two months in the NICU, and he has been in and out of Children’s National for the past six years. Jason’s mother takes him for his dialysis three days a week, and other specialists treat him for rickets and asthma.

“One day, he’ll be strong enough for a kidney transplant,” his mother says. “Then everything will be normal–he can go to school with all the other kids and have a regular life.” To see how donations make a difference for children, visit

Thank for Giving Kids a Friend

Thanksgiving_04Every day this week we’re highlighting the many ways donations directly improve children’s lives.

Donations to Children’s National help create a healing environment for every child. From the balloons in the main atrium to MRI machines that look like submarines, our facilities are specially designed to let kids feel like kids when they’re in the hospital or at a doctor’s appointment. But these expenses are not covered by insurance.

With support from people like you, we’re able to update our facilities, maintain equipment, and do all the things that make Children’s National a home away from home for children and families. To see how donations make a difference for children, visit

Tracy’s Kids: Framing Art Therapy in the Context of Pediatric Communication

ArianaMany children who are battling cancer and blood disorders must undergo medical procedures that are confusing or create anxiety, and they don’t always know how to express their feelings. The art therapy program in oncology and hematology at Children’s National, which is funded by Tracy’s Kids, meets a child’s emotional needs by providing a healthy, creative, and fun outlet that helps them process their experience.

With $1.6 million in funding and supplies donated by Tracy’s Kids, the program features an art therapy room and five full-time art therapists. Five hundred patients participate each month in art therapy activities at Children’s National’s Centers for Cancer and Blood Disorders in Washington and Northern Virginia.

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Boxing Champs Encourage Kids to Keep Fighting

Boxing legend Roberto Duran with a young fan.

Kids at Children’s National got a special visit on Nov. 10 from international boxing champions Alicia Ashley, Demarcus Corley, Roberto Duran, Karl Dragan, Heather Hardy, Mark Johnson, Juan LaPorte, Mia St. John, and Chazz Witherspoon. Thanks to the Hope for Henry Foundation, Fight for Children, the World Boxing Council, and World Boxing Cares, the nine boxers visited the hematology/oncology unit and brought smiles to the children’s faces as they posed for photos, signed autographs, and passed out child-sized boxing gloves. See more photos.

The visit was part of a week of events leading up to Fight For Children’s annual fundraiser Fight Night on Nov. 13. Dr. Kurt Newman, president and CEO of Children’s National, serves on the board of Fight For Children, which works to ensure that low-income children in Washington can receive a great education and stay healthy. Dr. Newman welcomed the boxers and other guests and thanked them for making it an exciting day for the children, families, and staff. “What makes a health system like Children’s National so special are the things we can do for kids like this only because of the commitment, generosity, and creativity of partners like those represented here today.”

He added, “There’s a big similarity between the boxing — the fighters who have had to overcome a lot to get to the championship level — and these kids and their families who are fighting against hardship. When they get together you can just feel the bonds and it’s just wonderful to see.”

Dr. Newman specifically thanked Hope for Henry Foundation and its founder Laurie Strongin for all the organization has done to make patients’ lives a little brighter. Since it was founded in 2003 to honor the legacy of Henry Strongin Goldberg, who died at age 7 of a rare disease, Hope for Henry has served more than 12,000 children in Washington, DC, and around the country. Hope for Henry improves the lives of children with cancer and other serious illnesses by providing special gifts and programs to entertain and promote comfort, care, and recovery.

Read “Boxing Champs Visit Cancer Patients at Children’s Hospital” from WTOP.

Helping Children Worldwide Through Telemedicine

Making World of DifferenceAt a thank-you tea on Oct. 29, 65 loyal Children’s National donors gathered at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., and learned about how Children’s National is making a difference for children around the world.

Craig Sable, MD, Director of Echocardiography and Telemedicine at Children’s National, discussed how philanthropy is helping the telemedicine program reach children regionally, nationally, and internationally. The program uses electronic and telecommunications technology to  serve community hospitals, suburban health centers, inner-city health clinics, hospitals throughout the United States, and international partners across a wide range of pediatric specialties including neurology, genetics, radiology, and surgery.

“Children’s National has partners in 19 countries and 21 U.S. states,” Dr. Sable said. “In just 12 years, we’ve had 13,000 patient consultations and have provided guidance to children’s hospitals globally.” In addition, Children’s National  has advanced distance learning initiatives, sharing knowledge with physicians and students wherever they are. Children’s National collaborates with many countries throughout the world, including the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq, Morocco, Germany, Uganda.

Cutting-Edge Technology Leads to Stimulating Results

dbs frameThe Joseph E. Robert, Jr., Center for Surgical Care at Children’s National is home to one of only two Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) pediatric programs in the country. Led by world-renowned physician Dr. Chima Oluigbo, this surgical treatment enables children with movement disorders such as cerebral palsy and dystonia to gain more control over their bodies.

From the success of the Monte Carlo Night fundraising initiative, the Operating Room (OR) Advanced Technology Fund provided the cutting-edge equipment needed for the complex procedure. Dr. Oluigbo and his team precisely place electrodes in locations of the brain no larger than a pin point. These electrodes, similar to a pacemaker, transmit electrical impulses to areas linked to movement disorders. The treatment provides relief for symptoms such as tremors, rigidity, slowness of movement, and stiffness that do not improve with medication.

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Are You an Insider?

insiderThe Children’s Hospital Foundation has re-launched its e-newsletter, the “Children’s Insider.” The current issue reports on the impact of donations on the community and highlights the Race for Every Child, $124 million in community benefits, partnerships with the Nationals and Redskins, and an inspiring video of Ian, the “comeback kid.”

If you’re not getting this report on how donations are making a difference for children, subscribe to receive these quarterly updates by email.