Starlight Starbright

22 08 2009

Four years ago my daughter woke me up in the middle of the night to tell me she had thrown up.  Half awake and thoroughly grossed out, I told her to clean herself up and come back to me afterwards.  She never did.  I woke up at 4:30 to the deafening sounds of Harry Potter.  As I trudged out to the living room in my groggy early morning state, I found her sitting with a box of cereal beside her and the bowl propped on her lap, her eyes riveted on the screen.  Needless to say, with no fever and no signs of illness, I sent her on to get ready for school.  She faked a cough, a little hack here or there and then protested.  The protest lasted the entire ride to school, when I waved her on and headed to work.  At work, I told my coworkers that I hadn’t yet figured out what she was trying to get out of but I wasn’t going to fall for it.  And as if by queue, my phone began ringing.  It was the school, and she was sick.  I arrived at the school and spoke with the lady at the desk.  My daughter was not sick, she was faking it and why couldn’t a school official who dealt with kids notice a fake cough when she heard it.  Instead of being met with cooperation, I was told that she could not return to school until I had a doctor’s note.  As we rode home, my daughter finally admitted to me that she had been faking it and lying to me.  And it really pissed me off because now I would have to miss a day of work and pay for a doctor’s visit because of her scheming!  At the doctor’s office I told them how she had lied, how she was not even very good at faking it and I would need a note to let her return to school.  The doctor instead told me that they needed to admit her to the hospital immediately.  She had asthma.

I am a fortunate parent in that since her diagnosis her asthma has been relatively under control.  She has a bevy of medicines she has to take and she has had a few hospitalization, but she is relatively healthy.  Not all parents are so lucky.

At age six, Leia suffered a collapsed lung due to her asthma and struggled in intensive care to live.  Her father shares a bit about her fight to live:

“Because her lungs were so fragile, Leia had to be isolated from all other patients. A double set of protective doors stood between her and the outside world. She couldn’t visit the playroom, see other children or even for a moment step outside her room. She was stuck in bed, weighed down by a tangle of oxygen masks, IVs and machines. Perhaps the hardest part for her mother and me to deal, though, with was watching the extreme pain she suffered every time her medication was administered – it was so powerful that it burned inside her veins.  After that initial experience, Leia has been frequently hospitalized and has spent a week or two in the hospital every year as her weakened lung has made her more vulnerable to severe asthma attacks.”

Leia’s father continues:

“After several days in isolation, the hospital’s child life team wheeled a Starlight Fun Center into her room. I watched as, for the first time since her attack, Leia’s entire face lit up and she looked like my happy 6-year-old girl. For the rest of her stay, she was able to play her favorite video games and watch movie after movie. It may seem like such a simple thing, but those games and movies took her mind off the pain and misery and began to heal her battered spirit.”

The Starlight Foundation helps children like Leia find distraction from their pain and entertainment while they are suffering.  From cartoons series that showcase heroes and heroins who suffer through similar tragedies, to entertainers coming to perform for patients, to even specially designed hospital suites that offer a family home setting with the medical needs of the child – Starlight has it all.

Through my blog sponsor, Sprint, we are raising monies for Starlight Children’s Foundation.  I am hoping that you will take the time to click the banner ad to the right of the screen and watch and rate a few Sprint commercials.  Your action will provide funds for the Starlight Children’s Foundation.  You won’t be asked to make any additional donations or any personal information.  If you could help out this foundation in their drive to help out children like Leia, it would make a huge difference to their lives.  Please spread the word and feel free to share this with your friends.  Thank you.




2 responses

22 08 2009
Peter Samuelson

I founded the Starlight Children’s Foundation in 1982. What I read things like your blog post it makes me very happy and proud. Thank you.

22 08 2009

What a wonderful foundation you created Peter! I was so very moved when I read about the benefits that Starlight offers to children. Thank you.

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