On March 1, 2017, I saw a whole lot of awesome.
My daughter, Amelia, was invited to attend a private “Launch Party” for a brand new booklet, published by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s (CCHMC) Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics (DDBP). The booklet is titled “Sharing Hope: The Stories of our Patients and Families”, and it will be distributed free of charge to families of individuals who are referred to DDBP for various reasons. The booklet contains brief articles written by individuals who have previously been referred to DDBP, and their family members.
Amelia’s story is one of 26 articles featured in the booklet. The article is a summation of the contents of my “Ten Important Things Amelia Needs You to Know” Ignite-style presentation.
I had an opportunity to meet some of the other honored guests there, and I feel very privileged to have met such wonderful people! Reading some of their stories after meeting them just makes it even more powerful to me. Families of people like Lily, Vineet, Patrick, Andrew, and so many more, have willingly told their stories with the intent of conveying encouragement and hope to others who are just learning what a diagnosis of “autism” or “down syndrome” or “spina bifida” will mean for their lives.
The impact of a powerful network of caring professionals is what keeps CCHMC near the very top of U.S. News & World Report’s list of best children’s hospitals. But, there is something extra to be gained from hearing the experiences of others at a time when most families find themselves starting a journey nobody they know has gone through.
Alongside the best medical treatment available, there is something soothing about a voice that can tell you honestly, “I know how you feel.” That’s something no medicine can provide. And, it has a lot to do with why these families chose to own their story and tell it, rather than try to hide the diagnosis that, quite honestly, changed their lives forever.
Amelia’s diagnosis is a challenge, but it is not a shame. She rises to meet that challenge every day. That message of love, belief, and hope is conveyed throughout the pages of this booklet, and I am proud to be dad to such an inspiring young lady.