Jonathan’s Story: 3-year-old boy travels from Uganda to remove giant tumor at Mott

Jonathan to return to his home in East Africa with hope of a new life


The grapefruit-sized tumor draped around Jonathan Ssekawunde’s neck didn’t keep the rambunctious 3-year-old from hopping on tractors for pretend “rides,” darting through a barn and giggling while feeding goats and llamas at Domino’s Petting Farm this fall.

But back home in his village in Uganda, Jonathan wasn’t able to play in public places. There, the protruding tumor marked him as “diseased,” leading to his isolation from other children and even preventing him from going to school.

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How to thank a nurse

how to thank a nurseFor many patients and their families, the care they receive from C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital nurses is transformative. We hear time and time again how families’ experiences – with the individuals who are on the front lines right there alongside them, advocating for each child’s unique situation – have touched their lives.

What you may not know, however, is that these experiences are often equally as transformative for our nurses. Nurses feel the highs of a patient’s triumph and the devastating lows of hearing news you had hoped you would never hear.

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No change of heart for 11-year-old Buckeyes fan headed to Michigan, Ohio State game

Ohio State fan who made national headlines for his “Michigan heart” to cheer on Buckeyes at the Big House

Dr. Ronald Grifka and Ivan Applin reunite Ivan's heart procedure at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital.

C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital pediatric cardiologist Dr. Ronald Grifka and Ivan Applin reunite after Ivan’s heart procedure at Mott earlier this year.

As momentum builds for Saturday’s football game between the twelvth-ranked Wolverines and the No.8 Buckeyes, 11-year-old Ivan Applin is preparing to watch the historical rivalry unfold for the first time in the stands.

The young Buckeyes fan, who had a heart procedure at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan this summer, made national headlines after he asked his now famous question: Would the U-M doctor would make his heart love Michigan instead of Ohio State?

A week after Ivan’s 11th birthday, the University of Michigan Health System is sending him and three family members to the Big House to see the rivals face off on the field.

So … does his heart feel any differently?

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Saving Mia’s ‘big heart’

How ‘Save A Heart’ helped a family of 6 during an unexpected 333-day hospital stay to treat baby’s congenital heart disease

(From back to front) Bobby; Mia, 4; Anna May, 7; Ella, 6; and Nina, 19. The family lived in a room at the Ronald McDonald House for 300 days during Mia's treatment at Mott.

(From back to front) Bobby; Mia, 4; Anna May, 7; Ella, 6; Wendy and Nina, 19. The family lived in a room at the Ronald McDonald House for 300 days during Mia’s treatment at Mott.

At seven days old, Mia Wilson was airlifted to Ann Arbor for what doctors said was her last hope in fighting a serious heart condition.

Mia’s parents Wendy and Bobby, along with their three other daughters then ages 17 months, three and 14, also made the 196-mile trek from their home in Akron, Ohio to University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, a world leader in congenital heart disease.

“We packed for three days,” Wendy recalls. “Never in a million years did we think we’d be here for four seasons.”

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The Power of Flowers

Longest running volunteer group at Mott continues a legacy of healing through flowers

flower therapyIf you’ve ever had a loved one in the hospital, the thought of sending flowers may have crossed your mind.

One group of volunteers at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital understands the power of flowers particularly well, and takes the sentiment to a whole new dimension with their flower therapy program.

Every other week, from September through May, a group of dedicated volunteers known fondly as the Flower Ladies fills the hospital’s Family Center with the delightful sights and smells of fresh flowers.

What the Flower Ladies know, that many families are surprised to learn, is that flowers can be a lot more than decoration for a hospital room shelf.

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Making spirits bright

Holiday gift donations for kids at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital

Every year, we are awestruck by the generosity of organizations, families and individuals who want to help the kids at Mott during the holiday season. It’s a beautiful reminder of the kindness of the human spirit.

Your donations help us bring cheer to our Little Victors year round, but this time of year, in particular, they help us make our annual “Mott Toy Shop” possible. Many of the parents of our Little Victors are reluctant to leave their child’s bedside for five minutes, let alone enough time to brave crowded stores for holiday shopping. And all too many are also feeling the weight of financial challenges. The Mott Toy Shop helps these parents still give their child a holiday experience even while spending their holiday in the hospital.

If you’re interested in making a holiday donation to Mott, here are some things you should know:  Continue reading