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In April 2013, the International Services Office at Mayo Clinic received a copy of an article from a Gambian newspaper. In the article, a father begged for help for his 2-year-old daughter, Aisha. She was born with a ventricular septal defect – a hole in the heart that occurs in the wall that separates the heart’s lower chambers. Large ventricular septal defect require surgery to prevent complications. Aisha needed a heart surgery that no hospitals in her home country could perform, and the family was unable to raise the funds for her to travel elsewhere for care. Eventually, her uncle reached out to Mayo Clinic for help. Frank Cetta Jr., M.D., a Mayo Clinic pediatric cardiologist, reviewed the case and gladly accepted it. Then the International Appointment Office went to work to find a Mayo-sponsored charity that would fund her care. Cindy Kendall of the International Office called Kate Welp, a nurse in Cardiovascular Surgery, who also founded the nonprofit Hands for Humanity. Without hesitation, Welp agreed to sponsor Aisha and her family.
Kristen Yukness knew what her doctor was going to say next. After a finding of bilateral deep vein thrombosis after a routine flight, Kristen had a strong feeling – based on her family history – that her condition had been caused by an underlying form of cancer.
At age 42, Donnie DeWitt was the picture of health. A former Marine, he loved to run, surf and was an avid cyclist. But three years ago, while on a bike ride near his home in St. Augustine, Florida, Donnie collapsed. He’d suffered a massive brain hemorrhage that led to a stroke. He was brought to Mayo Clinic’s Comprehensive Stroke Center in Jacksonville, where physicians said the damage was so extensive that Donnie had less than a five percent chance of survival. “We didn’t know if he was going to live, what the outcome would be,” says Belinda, Donnie’s wife.
Plagued by persistent symptoms with no definitive cause, Scott Borden turned to Mayo Clinic to help solve a baffling medical condition that was interfering with his life.
It's one thing to teach compassionate communication. It's another thing altogether to be on the receiving end of, "Your daughter has cancer." Learn how proton beam therapy gave Sherry Chesak, Ph.D., and her family hope.
Editor's Note: This guest post is written by Amy Edmunds, founder of YoungStroke. In 2002, I was a daily commuter to Capitol Hill who worked in sales management. Never did I think I would someday return to testify as a patient advocate at Congressional hearings on behalf of young stroke survivors. But then again, never did I expect to be a stroke survivor at age 45. On Jan. 11, 2002, with no identified risk factors and no family history, I had an ischemic stroke. Initially, my mother observed my repeating phrases during conversation. Next, she witnessed my temporary blindness. Today, I have no recollection of these events. And my resulting deficit remains some long-term memory loss. Like many, I mistakenly assumed stroke was an affliction of the elderly. As I attempted to learn more about my own experience, I learned approximately 30 percent of people who suffer a stroke each year are under age 65. And women are at an increased risk for stroke. So, too, are African American individuals – many of whom have significant aftereffects.