Abby always required a lot of sleep as a child. But at 7 years old her mom noticed that she was increasingly tired, lethargic and grouchy. At her 8 year old check-up, her mom insisted that she have a full blood work up to see if there was and assumed that she had a blood infection that would resolve itself in a few weeks. However, the following day, on March 11, 2011, the test results came back positive for leukemia. Her world now resolves around doctor's appointments, days at the clinic, spreadsheets of medicine dosages, and arranging activities around blood count levels. Abby is old enough to understand what is going on and to have questions of her own. Everyone at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta talks to her, answers her questions, and makes sure she is as comfortable as possible. Although this is a difficult journey for Abby and her family, they are grateful for all the love, care and respect they receive from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In partnership with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Pure Imagination Charity, was able to provide Abby with a “Wicked” adventure …. Giving her and her family the opportunity to escape their intense daily routine and put a smile on her face.
Click to see Abby’s Pure Imagination adventure
Ana West is a 7-year-old from McDonough, and she suffered a stroke on November 12, 2012. After being admitted to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, she was diagnosed with a cerebral arteriovenous malformation – extra blood vessels in the brain. These are located on the top of her brain stem, making it impossible to operate. The blood from these vessels have nowhere to go, so it clots and leaves Ana at risk for stroke. The left side of her body was affected by this.
Ana spent more than a month at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Comprehensive Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit – to re-learn basic functions like walking and talking. Because of their inpatient stay and daily travels for therapy, Ana was not able to sell Girl Scout cookies in her first year as a Scout. Therefore, Pure Imagination, purchased 300 boxes of Girl Scout cookies from Ana in support of her getting her cookie badge and created the “Fondue It Forward” fundraising event in her honor to help raise money for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
In July 2009, right before she would begin her freshman year, Ashton began experiencing debilitating physical symptoms like muscle weakness and double vision. She was very tired and sleeping all the time. After every kind of test imaginable and a host of physicians, Ashton was diagnosed with Kikuchi Fugimoto disease, an extremely rare illness which affects the lymph nodes. After a month-long hospital stay, her condition improved enough for her to return home, but the severe de-conditioning of medications and bed rest left her in a wheelchair. But, after a rigorous year of cognitive and physical therapy at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Ashton was able to pass an Army physical fitness test. She continues to see a rheumatologist to watch for the small possibility of complications. Thanks to the generosity of a charitable child, Julia who helped raise money for the Pure Imagination program – Ashton, who at one time was unable to walk, was able to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience at the Georgia Aquarium and swim with the whale sharks!
Brandon, age 4, arrived at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta in acute liver failure. Four days later, the liver transplant team at Children’s placed Brandon on the national transplant waiting list. If they didn’t find a new liver for him—and fast—he probably wouldn’t survive. “I knew I had the same blood type as my son,” Cheri Hayes said. “I told them I'd do whatever they needed. I'd be the donor.”
On October 13, 2011, Cheri and Brandon participated in a living donor split liver transplant. It was the first parent-to-child transplant at Children's since 2006. .
Thanks to the generosity of a charitable child, Lathan, who helped raise money for the Pure Imagination program – Brandon, was able to experience an exclusive adventure and see “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” at the Fox Theatre - a wonderful treat for his courage and strength!
When Gabee was two years old, a high fever brought her into a New York hospital. She was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse and a mild AV Block. This heart condition was closely monitored, but after moving to Georgia, a new pediatric cardiologist discovered that Gabee, a competitive dancer, had a complete AV Block and no signs of mitral valve prolapse. This condition required immediate medical care.
In June 2006, the 11-year-old underwent the first of three surgeries at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Gabee had a pacemaker implanted in her chest to maintain a regular heart beat. She continues to receive monthly check-ups and will need a surgery soon to replace the pacemaker’s battery. In the meantime, she stays active – seemingly unaffected by the condition. Sixteen-year-old Gabee dances competitively and serves as her show choir’s assistant director to the teacher.
Thanks to the generosity of a charitable child, Karyn, who helped raise money for the Pure Imagination program through her school choir – Gabee, was able to experience an exclusive “Superstar” adventure!
In March 2008, Hunter was in a tragic motocross accident and immediately airlifted to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. His parents were informed that Hunter has a serious injury called Traumatic Atlanto Occipital Dislocation (or internal decapitation). Very few children survive this type of injury and the few that do are usually left paralyzed or with neurological damage. However an innovative and unique surgery by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta spine surgeon, David Wrubel, M.D., using his rib to reattach his neck to his skull saved his life.
At the age of 3, Katelyn was diagnosed with chronic gastrointestinal issues – colon disability Over the years, she’s experienced five surgeries, intense bouts of pain and abdominal extension. She is continually hospitalized at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for reoccurring issues and has to endure a pain staking gastrointestinal irrigation every evening.
Thanks to the generosity of a charitable child, Mary, who helped raise money for the Pure Imagination program by selling Krispy Kreme doughnuts and coffee at an Easter egg hunt at Lilburn Park – Katelyn was able to experience a “high-flying” Pure Imagination adventure.
When Kristen was two years old, she was diagnosed with pleuropulmonary blastoma (PPB) which is a rare childhood cancer occurring in the chest, specifically in the lungs or in the coverings of the lungs. After being treated at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Kristen was in remission for four years.
In the summer of 2012 Kristen’s family was devastated to learn that she had another rare form of cancer – which resulted in the removal of her left eye. Seven-year-old Kristen participates in ballet. She is a very loving, vibrant child.
Thanks to the generosity of a charitable child, Mia, who helped raise money for the Pure Imagination program through by selling holiday themed chocolate lollipops and Nutcracker ornaments – Kristen, was able to experience an exclusive adventure to see The Nutcracker at The Fox Theatre.
Natalie is 9 years old. She has a heart defect that has required multiple surgeries at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta - the place her mother, Angela, credits with saving Natalie's life.
Thanks to the generosity of a charitable child, Piper, who helped raise money for the Pure Imagination program by being a " Mother's Helper" - Natalie was able to experience a "Fin-tastic" Pure Imagination adventure.
A life of physical hardship helped 11 year old Serena Ramlingum earn her attitude and her refusal to give up. Born with Spina Bifida she wasn't supposed to walk. She does. Serena sounds like a much older soul, maybe because she has grown up having to fight everyday. That fight has intensified. Her kidneys started to fail. Her father, who found nightshift work on a paintline, takes her the 50 miles from Henry County to Children's Healthcare in Atlanta three times a week for dialysis. In June Serena underwent a kidney transplant.
Pure Imagination was able to provide Serene “ruby red slippers” (which she wore to school everyday for a week!) to click her heels and say “There’s no place like home!”
Click to see Serena’s Pure Imagination adventure
Ty is an energetic, 8 year old boy. He has a passion for and is an avid baseball player. He was admitted to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta after a tragic accident in which he lost his foot. After surgery and during rehab, one of his first questions to the nurses was "will I ever be able to play baseball again".
Lathan, son of Pure Imagination founders, decided that rather than have a party for his 8th birthday, that the money be donated to Pure Imagination. Because of his generous and thoughtful contribution he was able to bring this "Home Run" experience to Ty and his family to lift their spirits and so that Ty could reconnect with his passion - baseball.
Click to see Ty's Pure Imagination adventure