Send a Gratitude

At Boston Children's Hospital, we're proud that our innovative research and exceptional care. U.S.News and World Report has once again, ranked Boston Children's Hospital #1 in the nation. 

But it's the praise and support from our patients, families and visitors that we value most.  

Had an experience at Boston Children's that you would like to share? Is there a physician, nurse, or Children's staff person whom you like to recognize and thank?  Send your thoughts to our Public Affairs team at 

Your words may appear in an upcoming edition of Children's News, a newsletter for Children's employees, staff and volunteers. View some of the inspiring letters we've received from our patients and families below.

A small world

Dear Dr. Lyle Micheli,

Around October of 1978 I hurt my knee while playing football at Plymouth Carver High School. You performed ligament surgery on my left knee. The surgical procedure happened to be featured on the television series "Nova," in an episode about childhood sports injuries.

My knee is in great shape. After the surgery I went on to play hockey and football in prep school and college. I still remain very active and keep in shape by combining cross fit and kettle bell exercises with trail running. I consider myself very fortunate to have had a professional of your caliber fix my knee.

Currently I serve as an instructor pilot in an air ambulance unit stationed in northwestern Afghanistan. Attached is a picture of our crew (from left to right) me (sitting on wheel), Craig Ribeiro (flight medic), Brian Quigley (flight medic) and my co-pilot Paul Kelly.

The helicopter we use to pick up and transfer the injured carries a full suite of cardiac and respiratory equipment, as well as a vast array of medicines and other equipment that enable the medics to treat anything from the most extreme battlefield injuries to the most delicate pediatric patients.

To illustrate how small a world it is, our flight surgeon Doctor James Baily (also a Harvard medical grad) has had occasion to meet you. Our medics have several medical references at their disposal

CW4 Stephen F. Moran
Standardization Instructor Pilot
Instrument Flight Examiner
F Company 1-126, Air Ambulance
Camp Victory, Afghanistan, OEF 2011

From the heart

Dear Dr. Sitaram Emani,

Back on November 9, 2010, you performed open-heart surgery on our (then) 5-month-old baby girl, Emily. She initially came to you to have a couple of holes repaired, but the sedated echo cardiogram (excuse me if I botch any of the medical terms) the day before surgery revealed much more degenerative heart disease in Emily's heart than originally detected.

I'll never forget the phone call I received from you in our hotel room the night before Emily's surgery. You explained the additional "repairs" to Emily's heart so calmly and professionally and with such humanity.

Despite the fact that you now had to re-direct her coronary artery, open up her pulmonary valve and pulmonary artery, fix many more holes and throw in something to do with her aorta valve as well, not once throughout our conversation did I feel your confidence wane.

The next morning was the most gut wrenching of our lives. After hours of waiting, you came to us in person, to break the best news we'd ever heard —Emily was alive and surgery went remarkably well! At times like these, I feel your true genius shines through like a bursting tropical sun!

In closing, I want you to know that my family is forever indebted to you, and to Children's.

We will never forget you and the great —yes, GREAT—experience we had at Children's. I hope you can feel the tears of joy that are streaming down my face as I conclude this note. Not only did you change my baby girl's life for the better, you also changed ours.

My wife, Amy, and I are not embarrassed to say that we love you and will always hold a special place in our hearts for you and for Children's. I know Emily will.

—Brian Wood (Emily's Daddy)

Grateful for a group effort


Over the past few days I have been trying to find the right words to express our sincere gratitude for the assistance you, and the entire staff at Boston Children's Hospital, have given our daughter, Lauren. After four admissions and three significant surgical procedures over six weeks, we've come to know the hospital and its staff well and we are touched by the compassion and motivation of every individual we have come in contact with. Dr. Michael Scott, Dr. Nicole Ullrich, Janet Orr, who heads the operating room nursing team, and each of their teams are amazing. Jan Cady and Lynn Susman from the Children's Trust were also incredible. The nurses on 9 North, the housekeeping staff and valets are all outstanding. I commented to one of the housekeepers on how much pride he took in his work, and he told me, "A clean hospital is a healthy hospital!"

You lead an incredible organization and should be extremely proud of all you do to help others. We are so fortunate to have the absolute best medical teams and equipment so close.

We sincerely appreciate your kindness and assistance and wish you a great holiday season and a happy and healthy 2011!

Best regards and thank you!

—Bill and Kathy Fitzgerald

A Thanksgiving thank you

As we arose this Thanksgiving morning, we reflected on what a difficult year this has been, with Leanna's pheochromocytoma.

We know that we have so much extra to be thankful for this year, and much of this is due to the wonderful care that Leanna received (and is still receiving) from all of you at Children's Hospital Boston.

You not only cared for her, but for our entire family, and we can never express in words our thanks and gratitude. You are all such wonderful and special people. We will always remember your kindnesses.

Please pass our thanks along to the staff, the nurses on 9E and 10NW, Sarah H and so many more. We experienced so many acts of kindness from the docs to the cleaning people and everyone in between. When we could barely function, you helped us climb a mountain.

With much affection to you all,

—The Healeys (Lawrence, Terri, Leanna and Marisa)

Celebrating National Donate Life Month: Then and Now

Celebrated in April each year, National Donate Life Month (NDLM) was established to help encourage people to register as organ, eye and tissue donors and to honor those who have saved lives through the gift of donation. We're proud to observe NDLM with a special letter from patient Kenny Laferriere, who has an extra reason to celebrate--the tenth anniversary of his heart transplant at Boston Children's Hospital.

Dear Boston Children's Hospital and the Heart Transplant Team, 

Over the years, I have heard many people refer to Children's as "a place that performs miracles." It is with great honor that I write this letter of gratitude expressing my heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you for continuing to make miracles possible each and every day.

My story began in 2000, when I survived a battle with cancer, only to be diagnosed with Adriamycin-induced cardiomyopathy. Chemotherapy had damaged my heart to the point where I would need a new one to survive.

I received my heart transplant on January 21, 2001, and am excited and proud to be celebrating the tenth anniversary of my renewed life! Because of your dedication and commitment, I am alive today. For this, I thank you. I have been able to accomplish so many things over the past ten years as a direct result of your devotion to saving lives. I graduated from Bridgewater State College in May 2007, mar- ried my beautiful wife, Kim, in June 2008, and am proud to say I am employed at the New England Organ Bank. What a privilege it is to be able to help others receive the transplants they so desperately need.

Thank you all once again for everything you do to save lives. Throughout my frequent stays at Children's, I have interacted with many people and I have nothing but the utmost respect for every member of this fine organization. Keep up the excellent work!

From the bottom of my transplanted heart, I thank you.

Kenny Laferriere
Heart Recipient

A miracle maker

At Milagros Para Niños, Children’s Hospital Trust’s first Latino-inspired fundraising gala, 17-year-old patient Jaime Rich honored Pedro del Nido, MD, Children’s chief of cardiac surgery.

When I was 6 weeks old, my parents learned I had complex heart defects. Before I turned 3, my heart had been reconstructed into a two-chambered heart. When I was 9, I needed a pacemaker. After that, things became more complicated.

I developed a rare lung illness called plastic bronchitis—it acts like cystic fibrosis, but there’s not a lot known about how to treat it. I missed hundreds of days of school and so many normal teenage experiences.

My doctors referred me to Dr. Pedro del Nido. From the moment I met him, it was clear that he was kind, helpful and completely committed to fixing my problem. We had a choice: a risky reconstruction to turn my heart back into a four-chambered heart, or a heart transplant. Knowing Dr. del Nido would perform the reconstruction, I chose that option.

He always treated me like I had an important role in my care and made sure I was mentally ready to fight hard for my recovery. Five days after surgery, a medical crisis sent me to the Cardiac ICU. I woke up to see Dr. del Nido standing by my bedside, calmly telling me what he needed to do in order to stabilize my situation. He’s continued to stay in touch and make suggestions about my recovery. Fifteen months after surgery, I’m a busy high school senior who’s cured of the plastic bronchitis and looking
forward to graduating with my class next May. My future is wide open.

My life is una milagro. And the work that Dr. del Nido does every day is una milagro.

Two patients, one great program

Dear. Dr. Mandell,

Our family would like to formally recognize the Fragile X program at Children's Hospital Boston. We have two young adults with full mutation Fragile X and they have very different needs and issues. Our son, Patrick, is non-verbal and has significant cognitive delays. He is physically able to do most basic living skills for himself, for which we are lucky, but schoolwork, safety rules and emotional expression is another subject. At Children's, he had a full work up with some great recommendations for his school, and the professionals are very open to phone calls with questions.

Our daughter Kelley, 17, is a typical teenager, but does have issues with memory and math skills, and her future with having her own children will have to be monitored.

We are committed to finding a cure and more helpful therapies for Fragile X and we participate in any research studies that we can. As well as being committed to research involving your hospital, we also head a resource group based out of Western Massachusetts.

Thank you for your continued support of this program and we hope with input from other families with children and adults with Fragile X, we can expand the program to offer more therapies.

Thank you for your time,

—Denise, Gerry, Patrick and Kelley Devine

A picture is worth 135 words

Dear Barbara Blundell, supervisor of Volunteer Services, 

I would like to let you know how impressed I am with your hospital and nursing staff. I got a chance to visit when my grandson, Corey, was there in April. There was a volunteer named Bob Nilson who came to Corey's room and drew a picture of him.

I was so impressed by the picture that I wanted to say thank you to him. Bob needs to be commended for what he does as a volunteer. He is very good at his drawings. I'm sure there are many more volunteers at Children's, and God bless them all for putting in their time.

Would you please pass this along to him and all of your other volunteers? Give them a big pat on the back for me!


—Diane Villers