A little brother’s life-saving gift

16-year-old boy finds bone marrow donor in 3-year-old brother; large age gap presents unique transplant challenges


After 16 years of fighting a rare, life-threatening disease, Derek Gropp finally met the organ donor who would save his life  –  his 3-year-old brother Christopher.

Derek was born with Kostmann Syndrome (or commonly known as Severe Congenital Neutropenia), which prevents the body from producing white blood cells critical to fighting infections and makes even a common cold or ear infection potentially fatal. The disease eventually can transform into leukemia, and his family knew that Derek may need a bone marrow transplant someday.

Then along came Christopher, who proved to be nearly a perfect match for his big brother. But the case presented unique challenges because at just 40 pounds, preschooler Christopher was nearly a third the size of his 16-year-old, 150-pound brother.

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Signs of overeating can be seen at an early age

mottchildren - sweet cookie imageIt’s become a milestone moment so many parents look forward to: their baby’s first bite of birthday cake when he turns one.

For some children, it’s love at first taste, leading to photos of messy, frosting-covered faces.  Others need extra prodding to eat the sugar-laden treat. Parents may want to take note of which camp their child falls into – it could already be a clue to their risk of unhealthy weight gain in the future.

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Safe storage of firearms and ammunition

gun and ammunition storageOne out of three homes in the U.S. with children has guns. Unfortunately, many of those are not stored properly.

As physicians invested in the care of children in our communities, my colleagues and I wondered what factors contribute to the problem. It turns out that part of the reason for improper storage may be that parents looking for information about firearm storage don’t have access to complete information.

When a parent searches the internet to learn about how to store guns and ammunition, what information do they find?

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Should I “redshirt” my child for kindergarten?

kindergarten redshirtingRedshirting is a term originally used to describe a college athlete who does not compete for a year in order to grow in size, strength, and/or skill in order to give him or her an extra year of eligibility.  The term is now frequently used in discussions about whether or not to start a young 5 year old in kindergarten.  To redshirt a child means to not enroll him in kindergarten even though he is 5 years old by the cut off date, September 1.

While growing in popularity, the data on redshirting is fairly consistent — there does not appear to be any long-term advantage.  A redshirted kindergartner may sail through the first few years of elementary school ahead of the class, but the rest of the class has caught up by middle school and at that point may even surpass the redshirted child.

Studying the Issue

One of the most extensive studies on redshirting was published in the journal Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis in 2006.  Continue reading

Is your child ready for kindergarten?

mottblog - kindergarten readiness imageChildren who are 5-years-old on or before September 1, 2016, are eligible to enroll in kindergarten this fall in the state of Michigan. Is your child ready? Kindergarten readiness is a popular topic especially as it relates to children who do not turn 5 until the summer. While you probably get no shortage of “advice” from friends and family, there are some evidence-based guidelines that might help you decide.

Reading, Math, Social Skills 

The three areas we typically look at for kindergarten readiness are reading, math, and social skills. While there are general guidelines around these, it’s not as simple as testing a child. It’s about looking at the total picture.
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Teen waits for second gift of life

Donate Life Month: 19-year old Kyle is among more than 3,000 people waiting for an organ in Michigan

For Amy and Pat Petrlich, it all feels too familiar.

Seventeen years later they are at the same hospital, with the same fears and hopes, waiting for the same news – that a heart may be available to save their daughter’s life.

Last time, Kyle was just a toddler. Today, she’s 19.

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