Six-year-old Bianca is rarely bored … she has too many interests! She loves arts and crafts, playing with her Barbies, and running around the playground with her friends and brother. She enjoys baking with her Auntie Karen and Nana (Bianca is the official treat taster, of course), and is taking piano lessons.
This renaissance kid has overcome a lot in her young life. When Bianca was just two days old she was rushed to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) with a gastrointestinal blockage. She underwent multiple surgeries before she was six months old and continues to be treated at CHOP for related issues.
Now that Bianca is stable, her family wanted to do something to thank CHOP and help other families like theirs. Bianca’s aunt, Karen, created a team, Running for Bianca, to participate in the Daisy Days 31-Day Challenge. During May, Karen and other friends and family of Bianca’s will walk, run or jog to raise funds to support the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at CHOP.
Recently, Karen answered a few questions about her family’s experience with CHOP and why they are participating in the 31-Day Challenge.
Question: What is your family’s experience with CHOP?
Answer: My family began our CHOP experience when Bianca was only a few days old. Two days after being born at Chester County Hospital, she was transferred to the N/IICU [Newborn/Infant Intensive Care Unit] at CHOP due to a gastrointestinal blockage. She spent the first four months of her life in the N/IICU as doctors investigated the problem with her intestines and digestive system. She had several surgeries within those first few months and has been in and out of CHOP for the past 6 years for related issues.
Question: What do you appreciate most about your relationship with CHOP?
Answer: I feel as though we, as a family, have really gotten to know the hospital over the years and I can truly say that we know Bianca is in the best hands. There have been nights when I needed to stay over with Bianca when her mom or dad couldn’t.
As her aunt, I’m concerned for her health but have a very limited knowledge of how to make things better for her when she’s in pain. On these nights, I’d voice my concerns and hesitations to the nurses, and they would always be so comforting, understanding and helpful.
When I couldn’t do what needed to be done for Bianca, they would take care of her in the most loving and gentle way. I appreciate that the staff at CHOP lovingly takes care of their patients but also the patients’ families who are struggling through seeing their child sick and suffering.
Question: What motivates you to participate in the 31-Day Challenge?
Answer: I participate in the 31-Day Challenge to give back to the hospital that has given so much to my family. I love that there is an active component to it – one mile a day for one month is a small sacrifice compared to what the doctors, nurses and staff sacrifice every day of the year for their patients.