Saturday, August 27th, 2011...5:33 PM

A Glass Half Full-A Gift in the Midst of Turmoil

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by Chris Heidel

Update: Our daughter ultimately raised over $5000 for TSRHC and was one of the top 10 fundraisers! TSRHC is now taking insurance, but they will still never turn any child away due to inability to pay, and now they will be able to help even more kids.

We were shocked to discover-the day AFTER I opened my gym-that one of our daughter’s legs was an inch-and-a-half shorter than the other. She had been complaining of hip/leg pain for a few days, but she was 7 and tended toward drama, so we ignored her. Besides, we were busy getting everything finalized for the grand opening of the gym. When we finally took the time to LOOK at her legs, we were horrified. Several doctor visits, three weeks of bed rest, a wheel chair, prayers, and crossed fingers followed. Luckily, a referral to Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children (TSRHC) in Dallas was also in the mix. That was March/April of 2009. At TSRHC, Maya was diagnosed with Legg-Calve-Perthes, a childhood hip disorder where the ball of the thighbone in the hip doesn’t get enough blood, causing the bone to deteriorate. Eventually, part of it collapsed, causing the leg length discrepancy. After a while, the blood supply returned, and she recovered. In December 2010, she required surgery, also at TSRHC. The hospital is simply amazing, providing top-notch, cutting-edge care for FREE to Texas resident children with orthopedic (and a few other) issues.

We were so lucky to be able to have free care for Maya. It gave us a glimpse at what it would be like to have true universal health care or socialized medicine, whatever label you want to use, whatever political rhetoric you want to spout. All we know is that EVERY decision we have had to make for our child has been based on what is best for her and not how much the treatment or the co-pay, etc. might be. Even though we have pretty good insurance, we have been grateful not to have to deal with verifying medical bills and Explanations of Benefits, etc. We NEVER have to waste hours each tax season trying to figure out if her medical expenses are deductible off our taxes. With each health hiccup, we are ALWAYS focused on our child, her healing, and getting back to normal. We know that no matter what happens with her hips as she continues to grow-as children are wont to do-no matter how many surgeries are in her future, it won’t cost us a cent until she reaches 18. To us, this is an incredible gift of grace and empathy. It is the right thing. It is the only thing that seems just and caring, good, and kind. This act of generosity and  charity provides financial stability, improves our family relations, lowers our stress, makes us better and more engaged parents; and is critical to the stability of our family, our businesses, and-frankly-the economy. There are no words to describe our debt of gratitude to TSRHC. Though we would have preferred that Maya not have Perthes, we cannot help but see our glass half full instead of empty.

So, when Maya was selected as a Patient Champion this year to support the work of TSRHC, we were elated! Her goal is to raise $2500. Please consider donating to this incredible hospital!

If you are so inspired, please also share with your friends!

About the Author:

Chris Heidel is the owner of and primary personal trainer with Libra Fitness, a private, in-home studio in Austin, TX. Chris focuses her business on developing mentoring relationships with her clients built on trust and meaningful support to help them set, achieve, and maintain realistic fitness goals. Chris truly believes that while getting in shape isn’t easy, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Chris is certified through the American Council on Exercise.

Photo by Chris Heidel

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