August 10, 1992, should have been a happy day for my parents. My mom had just given birth to their first child, me! But as they watched their newborn baby’s skin turn bluer and bluer, they knew something wasn’t right. Doctors at Rose Hospital began to run tests and soon discovered my pulse-oxygen levels were dangerously low, rapidly falling below 60%. Eventually, they diagnosed me with persistent pulmonary hypertension, which on a basic level, meant my lungs were not functioning correctly and had not expanded with my first breath. They told my parents there was a less than 10% chance I would survive, but my best shot would be at Children’s Hospital Colorado.
Loading me into the ambulance, the paramedics handed my parents a Polaroid picture—they didn’t expect me to survive the transfer. Miraculously, I did, and everything changed once I got to Children’s Colorado.
Children’s Colorado launched a complete interdisciplinary team determined to get my lungs functioning. After countless tests and ventilators, the doctors approached my parents with a choice. The first treatment option was a heart-lung bypass, which had inconsistent results with long-term consequences. The second option was an experimental clinical trial guided by groundbreaking research from two doctors at Children’s Colorado.
Dr. Kinsella and Dr. Abman’s research explored the use of nitric oxide in the bloodstream. They delivered nitric oxide through a special ventilator into a sick baby’s lungs to “tickle” them into functioning again. They told my parents I would be the third baby to ever undergo this treatment, which had had varying degrees of success on the babies before. My parents took a leap of faith and decided to try this new research.
Within 15 minutes of the treatment, my pulse oxygen level was up to 98%, and it never turned back. It was the 1st time the treatment had worked perfectly and has been used nationwide for the past 30 years for any baby born with the same condition.
So, in short, there is never a day that goes by where I am not grateful for Children's Colorado. Please help me show my gratitude by donating to my Courage Classic ride!