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Generosity Heals

Dr. Pam Sherman and Katie

For most children, the ability to perform daily functions like dressing and feeding come easy, and not much thought is given to the value of having those skills. But the same can't be said for children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy (CP). The condition makes simple tasks much more difficult, if not impossible.

Hemiplegic CP is a form of paralysis that occurs on one side of the body. It significantly affects the upper limb, reduces motor control and decreases the efficiency of hand function.

Each child is affected differently so treatment options vary. They include physical and occupational therapy to strengthen the muscles, Botox® injections to reduce muscle spasticity and stiffness and hand splints to increase range of motion.

For some patients with hemiplegic CP, hand surgery also is an option, but making that decision can be daunting for families.

Thanks to funding from Seventh Avenue, a donor group at Cook Children's, our hand clinic now has two surgical evaluation tools to aid patients considering surgery. These tools and their required equipment were funded completely by Seventh Avenue so that patients can be evaluated free of charge.

Cara Smith, Cook Children's Hand Therapy coordinator, administers both evaluations. Patients perform daily tasks such as putting on a sock, tying a shoe and holding a fork in order to demonstrate how they adapt to perform these tasks. Cook Children's orthopedic surgeon, Pam Sherman, M.D., then reviews the recorded session, along with Cara's notes to determine, based on their function, which surgical intervention would be best and shares her findings with the family.

Katie Siburt was the first patient to undergo this testing at Cook Children's. For Katie, the evaluation provided detailed information that helped her better understand exactly how surgery would improve her hand function. Now post-surgery, she is recovering well and seeing great improvement.

Katie will be continue to be evaluated through Cook Children's hand clinic. The evaluations provide data to help quantify Katie's results, monitor her progress and guide care for other patients as well.

She recently shared her story with members of Seventh Avenue and thanked them for the gift. "I am honored to be the first recipient of your generosity and I cannot thank you enough," said Katie.

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Your generosity does not go unnoticed by others. It is emulated by those who realize its value to the community. It is revered by those who care for our patients because it enables them to do what they do best. And it is appreciated by every patient and every family who benefits from it.

Thank you from each family, patient, nurse, physician and staff member whose life you will have touched with your generosity.