Hello! Thanks for stopping by! Welcome to my Briggs & Al's Run & Walk fundraising page. Wether we know each other personally, or you stumbled across my page and my team, thank you for taking the time out of your day to read my page :)
Let’s get into it…
What is this walk all about?
The Briggs and Al’s Run supports our Children’s hospital here in Milwaukee. I have been incredibly fortunate to have this amazing hospital system in my backyard. People from all around the world travel here to receive care from these providers and I think that speaks volumes. Although I always hope that children don’t need Children’s Wisconsin, we are so blessed to have such an amazing resource right here.
Why is this walk so personal to me?
My care at Children’s was lifesaving. I was diagnosed with POTS, or postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, when I was in 8th grade. Coincidentally, Children’s Wisconsin has one of the top Dysautonomia clinics in the nation. As I grew older, I realized what a privilege it is to have such knowledgeable doctors within 15 minutes from my house. I have connected with other people that have POTS and they might have to drive 6 HOURS to get to appointments. On top of all of this, my doctor had POTS herself. She understood my struggles and was able to plan my care in a realistic and sensitive manner.
Although POTS was life changing and life altering, it was only the start of my medical journey. As time went on I had been seen in many clinics. I received care from specialists in gastroenterology, ENT, research, cardiology, genetics, infusion, allergy, along with ER visits and admissions.
In high school I started to really learn how to manage my POTS, but my abdominal issues were starting to become debilitating. My social life diminished as I started missing school, and I developed a reputation from my classmates that I only showed up to classes when I wanted to. I was having vomiting episodes, migraines and abdominal pain that all seemed to be unexplained. I received diagnoses of cyclic vomiting, abdominal migraines, amongst other things. I had frequent admissions to the hospital my senior year of high school, and nearly missed graduation. Children’s worked with my family and I to make sure I didn’t miss this milestone, and with the help of some incredibly supportive faculty at my high school, I crossed the stage. This is just one example of how their care is patient centered.
After turning 18, I aged out of the hospital. I became increasingly ill, and I was trying all sorts of medication, therapies and feeding tubes with no success. I traveled to 6 hospitals in and out of that state. My provider at Children’s agreed to see me again due to the severity of my illness. Without a doubt she saved my life. She ordered and CT scan that showed I had a superior mesenteric artery compression, meaning my small intestine was being cut off, so that food couldn’t pass from my stomach through the rest of my body. I had dropped 40lbs in a matter of a few months and things were looking grim. After my scan with Children’s, I had life saving surgery within a week.
I would like to tell you that my surgery cured everything. However, life had other plans. I had a lot of complications because my body was shocked due to such a drastic change. I needed a follow up surgery and a different form of feeding called TPN, which is essentially nutrition that goes through alone in your arm directly to your heart. Children’s never gave up on me. I had an insane number of providers working on my case to come up with creative solutions. I truly believe that the care I had is top notch.
I am thankful for this organization every single day of my life, words cannot express the sense of gratitude I feel. So much has happened in the past few years. I started college. I watched my brother graduate high school. I’ve met so many amazing friends. My best friend got engaged. I started working with other families to advocate for rare diseases. I’ve started taking care of patients myself in nursing school. I’ve experienced so much life. I survived a disease that has a one in three mortality rate. I live everyday likes it’s my last, because tomorrow is never promised.
So what? Why should I care?
It is incredibly likely that someone you know and love has received care from this organization. Although I wish nobody needed to seek this type of care for a child, it is inevitable.
Through advocacy efforts I have met so many resilient families that have stories which have similar themes. Children’s Wisconsin provides life saving and life changing care to patients and their families. This walk raises funds for the hospital and 100% of donations go directly to the hospital! Every contribution matters. Donations can provide meals, new technology within the hospital, toys for children, bottles, blankets and other comfort items, decorations to celebrate life events, activities for the teen lounge, community outreach programs and so so so much more.
With all of that being said, I truly hope that you consider joining me for the walk, making a donation or simply reflecting on the significance of this organization and how much of a gift every day is. I always have a goal of having more team members than the year before in addition to raising more funds than the year prior. Pleas help me meet those goals!