Patient Stories

Meet McKenna

Imagine going through most of your pregnancy with hopes of having a surprise gender reveal at birth, just to be told your baby girl will be born with heart complications during one of your last ultrasound appointments.

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Inspiring Stories of Hope

Meet the patients of Nicklaus Children's who, alongside their family, continue to inspire us every day. Their stories of hope, resilience, strength and healing are truly remarkable - and we are proud to serve them.

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Patient of the Month: Zuri

October 2020

When Zuri was only a couple weeks old, her parents received a call that would change their lives forever.  Zuri was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, but she received the treatment she needed to go on to live a healthy, happy life.  Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Tyler

September 2020

When Tyler began to complain about pains in his shin, his dad thought it was a simple soccer injury. After multiple complaints, Tyler’s dad began to take it more serious. Following a series of exams and an osteosarcoma diagnosis in Jamaica, Tyler was referred to Dr. Temple, orthopedic surgeon at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital for limb saving surgery. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Juan Diego

June 2020

After a completely normal pregnancy in Nicaragua, Juan Diego was born with blue skin and shortness of breath. He was immediately diagnosed with a congenital heart disease and given a 50% chance of life if mom and dad didn’t seek treatment. Check out how far Juan Diego has come with the help of the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Heart Program! Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Francis

April 2020

Francis was diagnosed with a malignancy of the kidneys and began her journey with dialysis at the age of 8. For years, Francis has spent three days of the week at Nicklaus Children's Hospital for treatment. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: McKenna

February 2020

Imagine going through most of your pregnancy with hopes of having a surprise gender reveal at birth, just to be told your baby girl will be born with heart complications during one of your last ultrasound appointments. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Mariah

January 2020

Imagine being bullied because of a disability, because of your skin color, or because you are adopted. This was a daily struggle for Mariah, a compassionate and kind-hearted 17-year-old girl who loves her parents, her brothers, and her dog. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Mayra

December 2019

Close your eyes and picture a fun-loving toddler learning a new language, singing songs, and exploring her environment – eager to learn about the world around her and everything it has to offer.
That’s Mayra, a two-year-old girl who was born with a very rare case of cloacal malformation, a developmental disorder that affects nearly one in every 50,000 babies. Mayra’s life was at risk due to impending renal failure and time was running out. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Gianna

August 2019

After noticing that her daughter was unable to crawl, stand, or do the things her friend's children were doing at six months of age, Idalmis decided that it was time to seek help. Sure enough, after some consultations and genetic testing, Idalmis' gut feeling was right. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Alanis

July 2019

After a healthy delivery of her newborn baby girl Alanis, Ana was told that she was born with a small caramel colored birthmark on her arm. Not immediately alarmed by the news, Ana waited for their first appointment with the pediatrician who then referred them to Ana Margarita Duarte, MD, Director of the Division of Dermatology at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Isabella

May 2019

At only 7 years old, Isabella began to complain about having back pains. Unable to run and play with her friends, or even walk at times, her mother decided it was time to visit an orthopedist. After several blood tests and an MRI, it was determined that Isabella had leukemia. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Joshua

April 2019

Joshua had an immune deficiency called immunoglobulin A (IgA) deficiency – the most common immune deficiency amongst children. One out of 200 children will have IgA deficiency. The second condition Joshua had was low white blood cells caused by a viral infection, presenting as if he had leukemia. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Helia

March 2019

When Helia was 12 years old, her mother began to notice she was always very thirsty and drinking more water than usual. It got to the point that Helia was losing sleep due to all the weight she gained, so her mother decided to consult with a specialist. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Chad

February 2019

While on a father-son fishing trip in the Florida Keys, Chad, 3, was playing and swinging from the rope of a nautical wood pole when the 200-pound object came crashing down onto his chest, sending him into a state of cardiac arrest. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Layla

January 2019

When Layla was 5, she came to Nicklaus Children's Hospital with a severe case of scoliosis. To help straighten her spine, Layla spent time in halo gravity traction. While her mom returned home to Gainesville for work and school, the nurses at Nicklaus Children's took care of Layla, acting as substitute mothers and making sure she was well cared for. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Charlie

December 2018

After surviving a high-risk pregnancy with a set of twins, the Strombom’s were faced with yet another complication. Their third child, an unborn baby named Charlie, was diagnosed with a congenital pulmonary airway malformation (CPAM) and underwent two in utero interventions to allow for a full and healthy gestation period. Once delivered, the LifeFlight team from Nicklaus Children’s Hospital was on stand-by to transport Charlie from West Palm Beach to Miami. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Gabriela

October 2018

Following an emergency C-section, Gabriela’s mother, Katherine, was shocked to see that her new baby was missing part of her face. Gabriela was born with a cleft lip and palate. Katherine researched for hours to find the best doctors to fix her daughter’s condition and came upon the craniofacial team at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Mateo

September 2018

When Mateo was just two years old, his parents were shocked to discover that their toddler developed leukemia. They met with the hematology and oncology specialists at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and began a treatment protocol that brought Mateo back to health—along with some entertainment from his spirited little sister! Mateo, now 10, is a healthy, typical kid who loves running around with his friends. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Luife

August 2018

While he was still inside his mother’s womb, Luife was diagnosed with transposition of the great arteries, a congenital heart defect. Shortly after birth, Luife was taken by ambulance to the cardiac team at Nicklaus Children’s. The pediatric cardiology team took Luife’s heart apart, piece by delicate piece, and successfully, put it back together. Today, Luife is a healthy, active and outgoing 8-year-old boy who wears his “Scar of Honor” with pride.  Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Justin

July 2018

The moment Justin was born, his mother and father were faced with the most daunting and challenging experience any parent can imagine. Just hours after birth, Justin was airlifted to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital for more specialized pediatric care. Having been diagnosed with pulmonary atresia and tetralogy of Fallot, he required immediate attention before it was too late. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Victoria

June 2018

Meet Victoria, our June Patient of the Month! Before birth, Victoria, was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). While Victoria's mother was pregnant with her, the left side of her heart did not form correctly, causing an urgent need for surgery just after birth to help restore its function, or Victoria would die. Fast-forward to today, and Victoria, now a teenager, is leading a healthy life with her family in South Florida. She enjoys music and playing basketball with her siblings. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Lucky

April 2018

Zachary, better known by his nickname, Lucky, was born five weeks early. He spent five weeks in the ICU and faced some developmental delays early on. He began physical therapy sessions when he was 2 years old, and after some time, his therapist noticed a knot on his back that didn’t appear to be muscular in nature. The spine specialists at Nicklaus Children's Hospital found that Lucky had a severe deformity of the thoracic spine, known as congenital kyphoscoliosis. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Theodore

March 2018

When she was just 18 weeks pregnant, Micheleen, learned that her baby would be born with a congenital heart defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), in which the left side of the heart is severely underdeveloped, as well as a cleft palate and cleft lip. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Frankie

December 2017

What was supposed to be a fun day for Frankie and his sister with their uncle quickly took an unexpected and tragic turn. Frankie was kicked in the head by a horse at the ranch they were visiting, and he suffered a traumatic brain injury.  Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Victoria

November 2017

Victoria was born in Venezuela with a congenital heart defect, but was asymptomatic until she was 10 years old. Her cardiologist at the time said she needed urgent surgery, but everything did not go as planned. A few months later, after Victoria’s health had been steadily deteriorating, her mom resorted to finding a hospital outside of the country to treat Victoria, and found Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Mariana

September 2017

Meet our October Patient of the Month, Mariana. Mariana was born with Crouzon syndrome, a genetic disorder that prevents the skull from growing normally. For Mariana, it also caused difficulties with her breathing, but unfortunately, in Venezuela, where Mariana was born, they did not have the resources to treat her condition. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Piero

August 2017

Meet our August Patient of the Month, Piero. Born at just 27 weeks old, Piero had to be admitted into the NICU at the hospital where he was born and was intubated to allow his lungs to continue developing. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Lacy

July 2017

Meet our July Patient of the Month, Lacy. Lacy was only 2 years old when her parents noticed that something was wrong. They took her to various doctors to try to find what could be the cause, Lacy had an 8 cm. tumor in her brain, occupying most of the lower part of her head. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Bi'Yanie

June 2017

At a young age, Bi’Yanie was diagnosed with sickle cell, a blood disorder that causes the cells to take on a crescent or sickle shape and can lead to very painful episodes called crises. Today, Bi’Yanie is getting stronger by the day, thanks to the bone marrow transplant she received at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Anabella

April 2017

​Meet our April Patient of the Month, Anabella. During an early check-up, Anabella was diagnosed with a congenital heart condition called atrial septum defect, or a hole in her heart. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Milagros

March 2017

At 12 years old, Milagros was diagnosed with lupus, an autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack itself. In Milagros’ case, the disease attacked her kidneys, and a few years after her diagnosis, her kidneys completely shut down. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Lukas

February 2017

As a newborn, Lukas was in cardiac arrest and brought to Nicklaus Children's Hospital, where he underwent open heart surgery and placed on a Cardiopulmonary Bypass Machine, which stabilized his condition. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Andres

November 2016

When he was in high school, Andres was a wrestler, competing at some of the highest levels in the state. Then, in his senior year, the unimaginable happened; Andres suffered injuries that made it impossible for him to continue wrestling. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Astry

October 2016

After Astry was born, her parents noticed that she wasn't progressing as babies typically do. She wasn't able to lift her head and she showed a lot of muscle weakness. Her pediatrician recommended they take her to see a neurologist, and so Astry's parents brought her to Nicklaus Children's Hospital. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Juan Pablo

September 2016

When he and his family were still living in Venezuela, Juan Pablo was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma, an aggressive type of cancer. Watch Juan Pablo’s story and help us raise awareness throughout the month of September for Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Tonaly

August 2016

At just 17 years old, Tonaly was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a condition that kept her in the hospital for almost three months. Thanks to the treatment she received at Nicklaus Children’s, Tonaly no longer experiences the strong pains she once did, and with the help of Lisa, she developed the strength to face her condition head-on. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Teegan

July 2016

Once the cardiac team met with Teegan and her family, the doctors realized that this was a case unlike any they had seen before. From before birth she had been diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, and then they realized that she had a little less than half a heart and only one lung. Teegan's doctors and her parents knew she had a long road to recovery, but they were prepared to do whatever it takes to get her there. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Alexandra

June 2016

​When she was 7 years old, Alexandra started experiencing pain, especially in her feet. At first, her parents thought maybe it was growing pains, or perhaps related to playing sports. It soon became clear that Alexandra had something much more serious when the pain became too much for her to even walk. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Emily

May 2016

Emily was born with Pierre-Robin sequence, a condition present at birth which tends to cause a small jaw, a tongue that is displaced back towards the throat and a cleft palate. She was brought her to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, where she underwent surgery to repair her cleft palate, and since then her life has completely turned around. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Raquel

April 2016

At just 16 years old, Raquel was diagnosed with Pre-B acute lymphoblastic leukemia. She first noticed something was wrong in the summer of 2015 when she realized she had swollen glands behind her ear. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Andrew

March 2016

Andrew was born with chronic lung disease and has had to live his entire life connected to a ventilator that helps him breathe. He’s been receiving treatment at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital since he was three months old, and along the way he and his family were told about VACC Camp, a week-long camp free of charge for patients like him. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Luna

February 2016

Luna was born full-term in June 2011, and her family had no idea what was in store. After just a few short hours, doctors realized she was not receiving enough oxygen in her blood and knew it was serious. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Alessandra

January 2016

At age 10, Alessandra was diagnosed with scoliosis and started receiving treatment at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Kellen

January 2016

Kellen is an 11-month-old baby who has spent most of his life inside of Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. That’s because, despite being born with no complications, Kellen’s kidneys completely shut down at nine weeks old, and he’s been on dialysis ever since. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Maya

November 2015

Maya began experiencing seizures at a very young age, from when she was 5 months old. For seven years, Maya visited the Nicklaus Children's Hospital Brain Institute where doctors tried several treatment plans with medication to get her seizures under control.  Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Annabella

October 2015

At a very young age, Annabella was diagnosed with nephrotic syndrome, a condition that affects the kidneys. One day, she went into septic shock and her parents brought her to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.  Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Izabella

September 2015

Growing up, Izabella liked any and all sports, from soccer to baseball to whatever she could do outside. Then one day, her dad noticed her limping while she was playing. Later on at home, he took a closer look at her leg and noticed that her knee was swollen. They brought her to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, where she received an MRI.  Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Dayana

August 2015

At the age of 6, Dayana's life changed forever when she was diagnosed with diabetes. She didn’t immediately know what that meant, but the realization that the rest of her life would consist of finger pricks and monitoring her sugar level was a hard one. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Jimmy

July 2015

While on vacation in Florida, Jimmy's father noticed he was feeling lethargic and unlike himself. One morning, he didn't wake up and as his father brought him out the front door, Jimmy had his first massive seizure.  Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Felix

June 2015

When he was just a young boy in Nicaragua, Felix’s mom noticed that he often complained about pains and not the usual pains for an active boy his age. After he was taken for blood tests, doctors discovered that Felix had sickle cell disease. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Melanie

May 2015

Melanie has been through quite a lot in the past few years; at the age of 12 she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and since then she’s had to face challenges that many other teens her age will never know.  Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Isabella

April 2015

When she was 2 years old, Isabella was diagnosed with autism after she had suddenly stopped speaking. Since then, her mom has been taking her to the Nicklaus Children’s Dan Marino Outpatient Center for different therapies, and they could not be happier.  Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Gracie

March 2015

When her mom was still 11 weeks pregnant with her, Gracie was diagnosed with Down syndrome and soon after, doctors discovered something else; she also had a congenital heart defect that would require surgery shortly after birth.  Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Devin

February 2015

Born premature and with a congenital heart defect, Devin was rushed to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital where she had heart surgery at 6 days old and weighing only 3 and a half pounds. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Connor

November 2014

On the day he was born, Connor’s parents could not wait to meet their baby boy. The pregnancy had gone well, so they were shocked to see that Connor was born blue. Something was wrong, and their fears were confirmed when Connor started coding and the doctors huddled around him. He needed to be sent to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, they told them, and quickly. He was flown to Miami right away by LifeFlight®.

Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Christian

October 2014

Christian was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which means that the left side of his heart did not fully develop while in the womb, and so could not pump his blood. At just three days old he had his first open heart surgery, but that was just the beginning of his treatment. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Sydnie & Tenille

August 2014

Sydnie and Tenille are two teenagers who at first glance look very different from each other. They’re a year apart in school and have completely opposing styles, but they have one thing in common; they both have sickle cell disease.  Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Ralphie

July 2014

Just a day after being born, Ralphie was rushed to Nicklaus Children's unable to breathe on his own. His doctors tried various methods to help him start breathing, but nothing succeeded. It was at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, one of few hospitals in the region at the time with an ECMO program for pediatric patients, that Ralphie was able to receive the critical care he needed. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Alexis

June 2014

Alexis has suffered more fractures in her short life of life than what the average person will in their entire lifetime. This is because Alexis has a very rare disease called osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as "brittle bone disease."  Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Andrew

May 2014

Andrew Lorenzen had always been a healthy, happy child, who enjoyed playing all types of sports. So, when his mom brought him to Nicklaus Children's to get a free EKG screening, neither of them believed the results would actually come back showing something was wrong with Andrew. Imagine their shock when after the screening, Andrew's mom received a call from the hospital telling her to take Andrew in immediately because they found he had a rare condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Leslie

April 2014

Nine months after first being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), Leslie Rodriguez is getting back to being a healthy, happy kid. She's in school and accumulating honors happily.  Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Gaetano

March 2014

Just four months after being born, Gaetano already knows what it means to fight for his life. At birth, doctors discovered he had a right-side congenital diaphragmatic hernia and pulmonary hypertension, meaning the muscle separating his heart and lungs from the lower abdominal organs did not develop completely while he was in the womb. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Harrison

February 2014

Harrison's parents brought him to Nicklaus Children's thinking he had a regular stomach virus, but their world turned upside down when the Emergency Room doctors couldn't find a pulse on their son. Harrison's heart had completely stopped, but he continued to talk and walk. The ER doctors transferred him to the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit and worked together to diagnose and treat his condition. Thanks to their care, Harrison is back to being active and has participated in the MCH5k for the past three years as a way to give back to the hospital that saved his life.  Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Andres

January 2014

After being diagnosed with Leukemia in 2012, Andres spent 243 days at Nicklaus Children's Hospital and today he is healthier and happier, thanks to the care he received here. Now, while on the maintenance phase of cancer treatment, he shares with us his survival story. Read their story.

Patient of the Month: Nathan

December 2013

Nathan’s mom went in for what was supposed to be a normal ultrasound and instead discovered that her son’s heart had serious complications. In most places Nathan would not have survived, but he was referred to Nicklaus Children's Hospital, where the Cardiac team not only rebuilt his heart, they gave him the opportunity to grow as a healthy, happy child.  Read their story.

Have your own Patient Success Story to share?

If you’d like to share your Nicklaus Children’s story to inspire hope, and help other families find answers to questions they’re seeking for their child, please contact us by using the link below.

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