Teen travels from Greece to Ann Arbor for vascular surgery at U-M’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital

After missing nearly a year of school in Crete for severe stomach pain, 14-year-old girl with complex, rare vascular disease finds treatment at Mott

After a year of living in pain, high schooler Niki Karpouza is back to herself and enjoying her summer in her home country Greece.

After a year of living in pain, high schooler Niki Karpouza is back to herself and enjoying her summer in her home country Greece.

The stomach pain 14-year-old Niki Karpouza was experiencing was so excruciating, she couldn’t eat, had to give up gymnastics and ultimately missed 350 days of school in her hometown on the island of Crete, Greece.

The culprit: a rare vascular condition that had led to the narrowing of multiple intestinal arteries and their branches, preventing blood from flowing to her intestines like it was supposed to.

Several doctor visits and medications in Greece didn’t help. Doctors there reached out to the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital that has one of the leading multidisciplinary programs for comprehensive treatment of vascular disease. The program is an international referral center for children with complex vascular disease and handles approximately 80 percent of cases requiring surgery in the U.S.

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Kick croquet

DIY KICK CROQUETCroquet is one of the oldest lawn games around. Sure it’s fun, but there are those heavy mallets and even heavier balls — an accident waiting to happen with young children. Here’s a version that makes croquet more kid friendly and more fun.


  • Large scissors
  • Garden or tent stakes (preferably something with a flat top)
  • Pool noodles
  • Playground or soccer balls

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Orange bean dip

Orange bean dip recipeThis tasty bean dip is great with fresh veggies, or add whole grain crackers to round out your snack.  The orange juice adds a sweet twist that your kids will enjoy!


  • 19 ounce can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄4 cup orange juice
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
  • Vegetables for serving.  Carrots, bell pepper strips, cherry tomatoes and celery all work well!

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Glowing fun: DIY glow stick activities

DIY activities for kids using glowsticksGlow sticks are perfect for brightening up a rainy day or creating some late night fun. If the weather is dreary, head to the basement or a dark interior room for some glow fun. Or, if you’re taking advantage of a beautiful summer night, you can enjoy these activities outside.

You’ll just need a variety of glow sticks, necklaces and a few more supplies depending on which activities you want to do.

Before you get started:

  • Check the yard or play space for any tripping hazards.
  • Hand out flashlights, or put an extra flashlight near a safe place for children to take a break.

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DIY Shaker Activity

Shake up your summer with musical fun

mott blog - clv 2015 - musical shaker activity1Musical shakers are a great activity for kids of any age. You can vary the activity based on the ages of the group you are working with!


  • Plastic fillable eggs
  • Rice, dry beans (try different things to experiment with the sound)
  • Tape

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DIY summer nature journal

mott blog - clv 2015 - SUMMER NATURE JOURNALA summer nature notebook is a fun way to notice the changes and special events of summertime.

Throughout the summer, the days grow longer and then shorter again. Temperatures rise and fall. We have days of rain and days of sunshine. Plants grow and bloom. Encourage your child to notice changes, in the light, the stars, in plants and animals and the weather. Have him or her make note of these observations in the journal.

Collecting a few leaves or flowers (with permission, of course) will also tell the story of summer and give you material for beautiful summer cards.


  • A small notebook
  • Plain paper to press plants. Think about how many pages you want to have in your notebook, you can add more later. Stack the paper up and use a three-hole punch to make a row of holes the left side of the pages.
  • Heavy paper or card stock, for summer cards. Cardstock should be cut in half, and folded later to make small cards.
  • Pencils, watercolors, colored pencils, or pens
  • A small collection of plants that you have permission to collect
  • Large heavy books to press your plants or a flower press
  • Online sunrise/sunset calendar

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