Your Stories & Reflections

The Institute's 75th Anniversary offers a time for us to reflect on the events that have brought us to where we are today, celebrating this momentous occasion. Fond memories shared with us by patients, employees, and other individuals who have connected with the Institute during their lives strengthen our dedication to helping all children and adolescents with developmental disabilities achieve their potential and succeed as fully as possible in family, school, and community life. Their stories are both incredible and a valuable testament not only to the work we do, but to the potential inside so many people, given the right care and support, and we are happy to be able to share them with you here.

I have always been impressed with Kennedy Krieger’s expertise in the treatment of cerebral palsy and other motor disorders including their development of specialized equipment. I also think that the community-based programs at the Institute (CFSP, FSS, other programs that incorporate home & community visits) are very important. They carry knowledge and skills from our research and clinical programs and make it real for families and other providers.

-- Bridget McCusker, Employee

My son was an inpatient at Kennedy Krieger Institute from August 1995 until January 1996. His name was Benjamin. He was involved in a near drowning on July 15, 1995 in Salisbury, Md. When he was moved from Johns Hopkins Hospital, we chose Kennedy Krieger Institute because of the location and because my brother had surgery at the Institute several years ago. He had a cleft palate at birth, but was operated on with successful results in 1969. Our son was cared for by a wonderful staff of people. I cannot name everyone; Michael was a nurse, Beth W. was on staff, Dr. Christensen was also with us, Steve Sigelman was a nurse who is no longer with you, but he would visit us when he was on the Eastern Shore. Our social worker was Franklin Chappelle, who is no longer with you either. There were so many others involved with Ben. He also had a Baclofen Pump placed while there by Dr. Peter Staats. The trips were many, but we enjoyed all of our visits. We have often thought about visiting when we have the time. Ben did pass away in May of 2001, but I and my husband will always love each and every one that cared for our son and us while we were there.

-- Jean Marie Hutley, Parent

Charles Curry, our son, was born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus. He never let all of the surgeries and other obstacles, such as Lyme disease and testicular cancer, get him down. He graduated from Penn State during which time he had several surgeries and chemotherapy. He never gave up and is an inspiration to all that know him. He was determined to get a job at Kennedy Krieger to help other people with spina bifida and related problems. He recently earned a Masters in Hospital Administration and is looking to further his career at Kennedy Krieger. He accomplished his goals and wants to give hope to others who have obstacles to overcome. He says he is now doing what he is supposed to be doing, and loves his job at Kennedy Krieger.

-- Debra Curry, Parent

I took notes on kids who taught me life lessons, patience, humor, love, and another perspective. One comes to mind, especially this time of year. With my own son two-years-old, I remember a patient I had, Ofek, and his incredible mother. He has a degenerative neuromuscular disease and had come in to be fit for his first power wheelchair and complete his driving training. His mother had always pushed him in a stroller and had been able to direct his activities. Well, he was cognitively a VERY bright two-year-old and the minute he got in that chair, and completed his training, all the sudden he was like every other two –year-old! He didn't listen to his mom and took off where he wanted to go. And mom, for the first time, had to run to keep up with HIM! And, she relished every second of it. The most wonderful part was he was able to go trick-or-treating "by himself" for the first time! (Ofek Lev/Michelle Cohen) Or my kids who taught me what grace looked like when they lost function degeneratively, yet still had a smile and adapted, knowing they could trust their team to find a way to make it better. I am grateful every day for the time I spent at Kennedy Krieger on the Head Injury Unit and the invaluable lessons my kids and their families shared with me.

-- Erin Gormley, Employee

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